Where I’ll be this year

Victor Joecks

Where I’ll be this year

Dear Friend,

For the last seven Januarys, I’ve come to work here at the Nevada Policy Research Institute looking forward to a new year and excited for the opportunities we have to advance freedom here in the Silver State. Getting to know and working with you — our supporters — to increase freedom is one of the best perks any job could offer. It’s something I thoroughly enjoy, and through victories and defeats, I’m grateful to be advancing freedom with you and our talented NPRI staff and board.

During that time, I’ve also been serving as a member of the Army National Guard, which I joined in 2007. Aside from being away for a couple weeks a year with my annual training, I’ve generally been able to keep the responsibility of these two jobs from interfering with each other.

Until now.

My unit, the 17th Sustainment Brigade, is deploying, and it’s my privilege to be going with them. That’s why, this January, I won’t be in our office. I’m currently at Fort Hood for a few weeks of training, and then we’ll be heading to Kuwait. The Las Vegas Review-Journal had a nice write up on our deployment ceremony, held earlier this week, if you want to read more.

The 17th Sustainment Brigade is a logistics headquarters, which means we ensure beans and bullets get to the warfighter. It’s an important mission, and I’m blessed to be going with some of Nevada’s finest soldiers and leaders. For those who are curious, I’m a staff sergeant, which means I’ll be working for a living. I’m also privileged to have the best job in the Army: public affairs.

I get to tell the stories of some of America’s finest men and women. We’re going to post the stories we produce on my unit’s Facebook page. If you’d like to follow our deployment and see these stories, I encourage you to like the page.

One of the things you learn in the Army is cadence or songs used to keep marching troops in step. My favorite goes like this:

Some say freedom is free

As for me, I disagree

I say freedom is won

By the barrel of a gun

It’s a poetic reminder that freedom is costly. And tens of thousands of Americans have paid the ultimate price for the freedom you and I enjoy.

To me, there’s always been an implied corollary to the acknowledgment that freedom isn’t free: Freedom isn’t inevitable.

As Ronald Reagan once noted, freedom isn’t passed down in our bloodstream, it must be preserved and passed down from one generation to the next. Our Constitution is one of the greatest political documents ever crafted, but the ideals and principles it embodies must be fought for — albeit with different tools than soldiers use — in our nation, state, and local governments on a daily basis.

The success of our military won’t be what prevents overreaching politicians from trying to grab your guns. It won’t be what prevents powerful special interests — be they union bosses or crony capitalists — from co-opting government’s power to advance their personal financial interests. It won’t be what prevents the nation’s chief executive from rewriting the law whenever Congress won’t implement one of his or her controversial ideas.

That’s up to you and us here at NPRI.

While I’m overseas, would you renew your commit to advance freedom here in Nevada? Certainly that will look different for everyone. Some of you may share an NPRI article with your circles of influence or contact an elected official. Some may share a conservative/libertarian book, like Bastiat’s The Law, with a child or friend. Some may continue or begin for the first time to financially support NPRI’s work. I do hope all of you will vote.

From ESAs to union-freedom campaigns, to analyses on proposed ballot initiatives, to our legal work, NPRI has planned an exciting 2016, and we’ve assembled a great team to carry it out. I’m actually jealous you’ll be here to see the results firsthand, and I’m confident in the ability of our team here at NPRI to get the job done. I even hope to write something occasionally, depending on my primary responsibilities.

When I return from this mission, aside from seeing my family what most excites me is the prospect of seeing what you and NPRI have accomplished in the meantime. And, of course, jumping back into the fray.

God bless.