As a third-generation dairyman, Micheal Desjardins grew up learning hard work, early mornings and dedication to the job. His father, an Army veteran, instilled those values in Desjardins and his siblings from a young age — which is probably why his appreciation for veterans is unparalleled.
When Desjardins was heading home from DFA’s Annual Meeting last March, he missed his flight. On the way to the airport, he sat next to a Vietnam veteran. While Desjardins says he’s normally the one to thank veterans, the veteran thanked him.
“He thanked me for being a dairy farmer and for appreciating what he’s done for our country,” says Desjardins, who milks 100 cows and farms 700 acres on his family’s operation in Plainfield, Conn.
For years, Desjardins and his family have talked about participating in the VJ Day Parade in Moosup, Conn. The parade, which takes place annually in August, honors veterans of many different wars and time periods.
This year, the Desjardins family decided it was time to show their appreciation on a larger scale — with a float.
With a banner that featured photos of family members who’ve served, along with the DFA logo, Desjardins drove a tractor with the float in tow.
“It was such a good feeling to drive the tractor to see everyone there supporting veterans,” Desjardins says.
A plethora of floats donned the streets of Moosup, along with those who came out to say thanks — which is what Desjardins was thrilled to see.
“In farming alone, we sacrifice,” he says. “At Christmas, we still have to milk, but can go home afterwards and see our family. In the military, if you’re deployed, they don’t have the opportunity to see their families — so I just make sure they know we’re thankful for that.”
While a float may not be necessary, Veteran’s Day is an opportunity to show appreciation — just take some advice from some Desjardins and give thanks.