Raise Your VOICE: Mathew Hasty – Family Law

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Gold Star Families Day

Gold Star Families Day, observed on the last Sunday in September
each year, is a national day of observance in the United States
that honors and recognizes families, like my own, that have lost
loved ones while in service to our nation.

As this day approaches, Ankura’s Veterans Council and the
broader community have offered me the privilege and honor to share
the significance of what this day means to me and my family, by
sharing the memory of my father. The Veterans Community at Ankura
strives to bring awareness and education across the organization in
the belief that understanding leads to greater diversity. By
sharing my story, I hope to raise awareness for Gold Star Families
Day and honor the memory of my father, other fallen heroes who have
served, and their families.

Father, Mentor, & Best Friend

My father — Air Force Lt. Col. Bryan Hasty — was
raised by his grandparents in rural Appalachia. He graduated high
school and immediately enlisted in the Air Force. Just one month
after his 18th birthday, he was on a bus to San Antonio, Texas for
basic training. While working the swing shift in an electronic
maintenance unit, he took college courses part-time for seven years
until he finished his bachelor’s degree. After being
commissioned as an officer, he would spend the next 20+ years
leading at multiple levels in support and operational units while
earning three master’s degrees and a Ph.D.

Despite all of those accomplishments, when I picture my father
and draw on the memories of my childhood, I picture him as a young
officer in his early 30s much like the photo here. At that time, I
was barely in elementary school, but the image of my father is one
of confidence, character, and steadfast integrity. The irony of
that image is that years later my father would remark, “I was
a brand-new officer, a leader of almost a hundred people, with a
wife and two kids at home depending on me to provide. I was
anything but confident. I was trying to just hold on, and at times
it felt like I was barely doing that.” My father’s candor
aside, I can’t help but believe that the image he conveyed was
so much more impactful than he acknowledges. His confidence gave me
confidence. His character formed the basis of my moral and ethical
beliefs today. His integrity, the drive to do the right thing at
all times, sticks with me to this day.

In January of 2015, while still serving
as an installation Chief Information Officer & Deputy Chief of
Staff, my father passed away after an eight-month battle with Liver
Cancer. To this day, I still remember getting a frantic phone call
from my mother urging me to rush to the hospital. I can feel the
freezing January air and slick ground from a fresh coat of snow as
I ran as fast as I dared across the parking lot. My grip still
strains as I think about sitting next to a hospital bed grabbing my
father’s hand and squeezing harder and harder in hopes it was
all just a dream. But it wasn’t a dream. I had lost my father,
mentor, and best friend.

Regardless of the circumstances, losing
a loved one is always devastating. Gold Star Families Day is
important because it allows families to remember their loved ones
and share their memories. In many ways, it helps keep those lost
family members, those loved ones, alive. So this Sunday, September
25th, take time to remember those families who continue to pay the
ultimate price.

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