I had the pleasure, opportunity and the HONOR, of recently attending the 50th home to be given away by the Pulte Group as part of the Built To HONOR program, HONORing wounded veterans.

This program provides mortgage-free homes to deserving wounded veterans across the country, including local veteran Army Staff Sgt. Clark Johnson.

Since 2013, the Pulte Group has built 30 new homes worth upwards of $9 million for deserving men and women who have served our country.

This will be the fifth home dedicated in our Bluffton backyard and South Carolina through the Built to Honor program.

Staff Sgt. Johnson and his beautiful family, including four-legged family members, had a wonderful story to tell. They shared it with us at the presentation ceremony, and it prompted all in attendance to shed a tear or two.

You see, Staff Sgt. Johnson had multiple deployments around the world and was wounded, not once, but twice.

What an HONOR it was to be in the presence of a man who was willing to risk it all, to give up his life, so that I could enjoy mine.

Johnson completed deployment tours in Bosnia, Kuwait and Iraq. During his last deployment in Iraq in 2006, he suffered injuries from IEDs, improvised explosive devices, on two separate missions.

Johnson was lucky, as some of the members of his group paid the ultimate price with their lives. In 2012, he medically retired from the Army.

During the ceremony, I could see his wife. I could see the HONOR in her eyes.

She also made sacrifices to raise their children, maintain a household, be the disciplinarian and fill the gaps while her husband served. Her role also has an immense amount of HONOR.

To Staff Sgt. Johnson and family: I hope you get a chance to read this as I personally want to thank you for what you both have given to this country and now to call Beaufort County and Bluffton home.

We all are HONORed to have you here with us as part of our community.

By now, many may be wondering “Why is he capitalizing ‘HONOR’ throughout this article?” Far too often we lose sight of what really is important.

To HONOR, to have HONOR, to give HONOR, to receive HONOR… what a testament that is. Instead of just throwing the word around callously, let’s really mean it. Let us all show how HONORed we are.

The political, racial, sanctimonious bickering is not worth it at the end of the day. If we are left with no HONOR, then what do we have?

Michael E. Covert represents District 7 on Beaufort County Council. mcovert@bcgov.net