By Jordan Conole
At just 17 years old, La Mesa resident Shane Kruchten received a Purple Heart, the award given to military personnel who are wounded by the enemy. According to the Purple Heart Foundation, “the Purple Heart medal represents courage, sacrifice, commitment and ‘heart.’”
On Tuesday, Mar. 13, Kruchten received a Senate certificate of recognition from the office of state Senator Joel Anderson for his unwavering dedication to our nation’s values through his service with the United States Marine Corps during Operation Iraqi Freedom and for the countless hours he has volunteered to benefit local veterans and active duty military personnel.
“Shane has served our country bravely with honor and integrity and his commitment to our military community is inspiring to us all,” Anderson said. “I am thankful for my constituents like Shane who have made the decision to serve our country and have sacrificed so much to do so.”
Kruchten, an avid military and veteran advocate, felt honored by Anderson’s recognition and expressed his gratitude.
“It feels great to know that the senator has noticed me and recognized me for my selfless service,” he said.
When Kruchten is not working or spending time with his family, he volunteers within various organizations in the military community. He makes trips overseas to motivate currently deployed troops, teaches jiu jitsu at Alliance Eastlake at no cost to fellow veterans and works with the Wounded Warrior Project.
Another organization Kruchten works closely with is Mission Volant that hosts Operation Jump 22. It provides wounded veterans an opportunity to experience adrenaline and excitement again through skydiving.
“Watching their faces light up, and to actually see a smile on their face, which is rare, is one of the best things I have experienced,” Kruchten shared.
Kruchten’s service to the military community is driven and inspired by his family and his brothers who never made it home. He hopes his work with the military community will inspire those who are struggling to seek help.
“For the veterans out there, if you are going through a struggle, speak up. There is a voice out there that will listen because 22 suicides a day is too many,” Kruchten said.
— Jordan Conole is a legislative intern for Sen. Joel Anderson’s office.