AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – Each month WJBF is honoring a local veteran that continues to make a difference in our community with the “Salute To Service” Award. The winner for November of 2021 is Dr. James Brady, a former Captain in the U.S. Army and former U.S. Marine.

“The greatest honor of my life was to serve in the U.S. Marine Corps. and United States Army,” Brady said.

Brady spent 24 years serving our nation, continuing a family tradition that dates to the Revolutionary War.

“I remember I was about 12 years old, we had gone to a Veterans Day parade downtown and we came across a man who was a quadriplegic, “Brady recalled. “He was sitting in a wheelchair and my mom said to my two brothers and I, ‘You should thank him for his service.'”

It was that chance encounter that would eventually lead to Augusta’s lasting tribute to Vietnam veterans.

“I said, and again mom had coached us, ‘We’re not going to forget your service.'” Brady said. “And he looked at me with a bit of a tear in his eye and said, ‘Again, bless you, but many of us have already been forgotten.'” So I made a commitment to myself at age 12 that if I ever had the chance to help recognize Vietnam veterans I would do that.”

John: His military career eventually brought him to Fort Gordon. He met his wife, former Dawn Langley, in Augusta and decided to make his home here. 

“One day he said, ‘We don’t have a Vietnam Memorial in Augusta’, and I said, ‘No, we don’t.'” said retired Lt. Col. Sam Booher, who serves with Brady in the Military Order of World Wars (MOWW) and Military Officers Association of America (MOAA). “He said, ‘Let’s build one.’ And I said, ‘Okay, we’ll help you'”.

Dr. Brady embarked on a five year journey that included countless hours of calls, meetings and raising nearly $120,000. Then in March of 2019, Augusta’s Vietnam War Memorial was officially dedicated on Broad Street.

“As a 12 year-old I made a commitment that if I could ever thank Vietnam veterans for what they’ve done, that I would more than happily participate in that,” said Brady. “This makes that mission complete”.

“This made him feel like he’s done his part for veterans,” said Booher.

“We are so grateful for what you did, and what you gave to our nation and we will never forget you,” Brady said.

Dr. Brady and his wife, Dr. Dawn Langley-Brady have been married for 24 years. She teaches nursing at Augusta University. He is now an Associate Professor at East Georgia State College-Augusta.

If you know a veteran that is deserving of our Salute To Service, you can nominate them here.