There are heroes at Middlesex Community College. Not the kind with capes that fly, but the kind that wears an American military uniform and defends our freedoms. The events going on in the world today are frightening. It is comforting to know that we have people in this world who aren’t afraid to stand up and protect us even if they have never met us. One such person is my husband, Staff Sergeant Steven Gonyea, who is currently serving in the Army National Guard. Ssg. Gonyea, a multiple-deployment combat veteran, has spent his entire adult life defending his country and protecting all of us in it.
I recently interviewed him as part of my COM*125 New Media Production class about his military career, and Ssg. Gonyea said, “Soldiers don’t think of themselves as heroes. We just know we have a job to do and we do it.”
And what a dangerous job it is. During Ssg. Gonyea’s last deployment, his team was escorting a convoy out of Iraq into Kuwait when an improvised explosive device (IED) was triggered on the side of the road as they drove past. He jumped from the gunner’s turret of the up-armored humvee which was on fire.
After spending 6 days in Camp Arfjan hospital in Kuwait, the Staff Sergeant was returned to his unit to complete his tour. Although he was lucky enough to survive, at least 2 others in the convoy were killed. When asked about the explosion, Ssg .Gonyea only shrugs his shoulders and murmurs sadly, “It happens.”
How has his brush with death changed him? “I live every day as if it will be my last. I no longer worry about the little annoyances in life. It isn’t worth my precious time left here on earth,” he answers with a wistful smile.
And part of his time left on earth is being spent at Middlesex Community College, brushing up on his skills in their Center for New Media. Ssg. Gonyea is currently studying Broadcast-Cinema. After he graduates, he wants to make documentaries.
“I already have a bachelor’s degree,” he exclaims, “but the New Media Center here at Middlesex is cutting edge and will teach me all of the hands-on skills that I need to change careers.”
From the battlefield to the film set. Thank you for your service, Ssg. Gonyea, and thank you to all veterans and active duty military for your service!
Blog post by Amanda Gonyea, a liberal arts and science major at MxCC, and wife to Ssg. Gonyea. Both Amanda and Ssg. Gonyea are active in MxCC’s Veterans Club.