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A hero of our own comes home

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A hero of our own comes home

Lt. Chuck Nadd was welcomed back to his hometown after flying in from Fort Drum, New York.

Lt. Chuck Nadd was welcomed back to his hometown after flying in from Fort Drum, New York.

TROY DEAL

Lt. Chuck Nadd was welcomed back to his hometown after flying in from Fort Drum, New York.

TROY DEAL

TROY DEAL

Lt. Chuck Nadd was welcomed back to his hometown after flying in from Fort Drum, New York.

AMBER YANG, STAFF WRITER

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Bright smiles and jubilant signs reading “Welcome home” and “We love you” lined the streets of Winter Park on Jan. 8. Nothing could compare to the reaction of the real hero of the day. Lt. Charles Nadd ’07 rode down the streets in a horse-drawn wagon in the surprise parade that followed his return from Afghanistan. He was surrounded by both his loved ones and those he had never met.

Nadd was once an energetic student attending Trinity Prep. While he was at Trinity, he was Student Council President and often told his classmates that he was going to be the President of the United States. Immediately upon graduating from Trinity, Nadd attended the United States Military Academy at West Point in New York for four years before becoming a First Lieutenant in the United States Army. At West Point, Nadd led a company of cadets and was a Fulbright Scholar finalist. In May 2013, Nadd was deployed to Afghanistan. He has approximately three years left in his mandatory service commitment.

“I remember Chuck for his enthusiasm, eagerness to please and strong sense of patriotism,” said Social Science teacher William Milsten. “Chuck ran this school. He stood out more than any other student in my ten years here, and he loved Trinity.”

Nadd believes that the Trinity family has always supported him through his years at school and beyond.

“Trinity [Prep] helped me grow into a deeper thinker. I was able to understand the blessings that we have around us,” Nadd said. “A lot of times, we go through our days with frustration about the amount of homework or tests we have. However, I think I really grew into a strong person through all of that. Through all these years of service in the military, I gained a perspective and was able to understand how lucky we are.”

Nadd’s parents were originally from France, and they taught him to always give back to the country that gave them so much.

“My parents really emphasized the fact that we were fortunate to be Americans,” Nadd said. “That was my biggest reason for joining the army.”

The events in New York on Sept. 11, 2001, were also an important factor. Nadd was in the seventh grade when the terrorist attack happened. The attack significantly changed Nadd’s life.

“That day really changed our world,” Nadd said. “This was my country, and I wanted to do something. I wanted to make sure that something like this would never happen again.”

Through all of his experiences, Nadd believes that the biggest takeaway from the army is to always treat people well. He learned to be respectful to everyone.

When Nadd arrived at the streets of Winter Park on Jan. 8, he was in complete shock.

His flight from the Syracuse Airport to Sanford was delayed for two hours, but nothing diminished the high spirits of the waiting spectators.

Originally, Nadd was told that he would be interviewed for a documentary about returning veterans by the Veterans of Foreign Wars. The original idea for the documentary came from the United States Department of Defense.

“The Department of Defense sent out a request for all commanding officers to select someone who was about to come back for the possibility of being featured,” said Social Science teacher David Ballard. “I have heard that 30 to 100 soldiers were interviewed along with [Nadd], and he was chosen.”

Several of Nadd’s previous teachers and friends, including Ballard and Milsten, were interviewed by a production company for what might become part of a documentary on returning soldiers. Clips from the surprise parade were also filmed, and the footage was featured in a commercial break in this year’s NFL Super Bowl.

“The [production] company told me that the purpose of the interview was to feature a serviceman who was coming home from Afghanistan,” Ballard said. “Initially, their goal was to produce a possible documentary of people talking about [Nadd].”

Very little information was released to the public prior to the parade. Close friends and relatives of Nadd were contacted, and an announcement was posted on the Winter Park bulletin. However, the entirety of the parade was genuine.

“I saw people emotionally moved to tears as [Nadd] finished the parade route and hugged everyone in the stands,” Ballard said. “Some of these people barely knew him, and he made us all feel proud.”

Nadd has not only inspired the Trinity family, but has also impacted everyone in our country in a greater way. His sacrifice and his service to our country have demonstrated the character and quality that our generation should possess.

“He’s one of those students that come along now and then. You know that he is going to be successful because of the way that he conducts himself,” Ballard said. “So far in his 24 years, he has been.”

Despite the heroic reputation that Nadd has gained, he remains humble about his achievements.

“I am nothing without the people who helped bring me up… It makes me equally proud to have done what I have done,” Nadd said. “So many people have done so much more than I ever did. There are people who come back seriously injured, and those who don’t come back at all. I think they are the real heroes. The parade represented something greater than me, and it’s not about me, Chuck Nadd. It’s about the sacrifices that have been made by all Americans.”

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About the Contributors
AMBER YANG, Editor-in-Chief

Amber Yang is a senior entering her fourth year on staff. She is currently Editor-in-Chief but has a love for writing controversial pieces for the Opinions...

TROY DEAL, STAFF WRITER

Troy Deal is a second year writer with experience in the News Department. He enjoys pina coladas and getting caught in the rain. Contact at [email protected]

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