Rocky Sickmann, who retired from Anheuser-Busch in 2016 and is a survivor of the Iran Hostage Crisis, understands the dangers facing our military servicemen and women. That’s why Sickmann joined Folds of Honor in 2016 as a senior vice president.
With his involvement in Folds of Honor, Sickmann has been able to educate and encourage others to support the Folds of Honor mission, which is to support the families of our military heroes who gave their lives in the service of their country.
If you don’t know Sickmann’s story, you should. It is literally material for a Hollywood movie. He enlisted in the Marines in 1975 in the wake of the Vietnam War. He spent a few years in the infantry before joining the Marine Corps Security Guard Battalion (present-day Marine Corps Embassy Security Group), which watches over U.S. embassies worldwide.
In October 1979, Sgt. Sickmann was posted to the embassy in Tehran, Iran. Weeks later, on Nov. 4, radical Islamic students stormed the compound and took Sickmann and 51 other Americans captive. Over the next 444 days he and his fellow hostages were held captive.
In April 1980, eight U.S. servicemen died during a failed rescue attempt known as Operation Eagle Claw. Since then, Sickmann has spent much of his career honoring their memory.
“In 1980, eight heroic servicemen died attempting to free me and the rest of the Iranian hostages. Their sacrifice is one I will never forget,” Sickmann told me. “I know first-hand that freedom doesn’t come without sacrifice. For that I am incredibly honored to serve with an organization that is dedicated to helping families who’s loved ones make the ultimate sacrifice for our country.”
The National Advisory Group (NAG) is proud to announce that Sickmann will be the keynote speaker at the 2018 NAG Conference in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. Sickmann will share his experiences and educate attendees on the work Folds of Honor is doing for veterans and active duty military personnel.
Giving Back to America’s Heroes
Sickmann was released from captivity on Jan. 20, 1981, just minutes after Ronald Reagan completed his inaugural address after being sworn in as the 40th President of the United States. He retired from the Marines shortly after his release and joined Anheuser-Busch, where he focused on military accounts for nearly 35 years.
Supporting military veterans and other military causes is extremely important to NAG and to me personally. I am a submarine Gulf War veteran, CSD’s Senior Editor Dave Bennett served two tours in Iraq and Bill Donohue, president of Harbor Communications, is a former Marine. Internally, we are always looking for ways to give back veterans’ groups and their families.
Folds of Honor, which was founded by Maj. Dan Rooney in 2007, provides educational scholarship assistance to spouses and children of fallen or disabled service members. The group has provided more than 10,000 scholarships to qualified applicants.
NAG Conference attendees will be able to support Folds of Honor by purchasing Challenge Coins for $13, which represents the 13 folds to a flag.
All money raised will go to Folds of Honor scholarships.
Earlier this year, NAG and the Young Executives Organization (YEO) partnered with Habitat for Humanity’s Operation Playhouse to build playhouses for the children of three veterans in Boston.
YEO’s mission is to cultivate young talent in the convenience store and petroleum industry. I can’t think of a better way for the convenience store industry’s next generation of leaders to bond and network than by joining together in the service of others. This was entirely a volunteer opportunity, but the response to participate was extraordinary.
I hope participation in this year’s NAG Conference and support for Folds of Honor is just as extraordinary. Visit www.foldsofhonor.org to donate to this important organization and register for the 2018 NAG Conference at www.nagconvenience.com to hear Rocky Sickmann’s inspiring story.