During his 14 years of service in the U.S. Navy, Greg McCann served his country abroad on all seven continents. Now, in his civilian life, McCann continues his service to his brothers and sisters in arms through his work with the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
McCann has served as the chaplain for the Sherman VFW Post 2772 for the past two years. In this role, McCann said he wants to give fellow veterans an open ear and place to discuss issues they may be facing related to their military and civilian life.
“Memorial Day is the day we honor those who gave their life in combat, but on Veterans Day we recognize not only those who died, but all that served,” he said.
During his 14 years of service, running from 1970 through 1984, McCann served on a nuclear submarine through the Vietnam War and the latter half of the Cold War. McCann said he was the black sheep of the family when he decided to join the Navy instead of the Army or Marines like his father and uncles.
“To be perfectly honest with you, I came from a broken home and an abusive situation and ran away,” the Memphis native said.
However, compared to the other branches, he said he felt the Navy gave him the greatest chance to travel and explore the world. During his tenure, McCann said he was able to visit countries across the globe, including Scotland, England, Australia, Brazil and the Mediterranean.
McCann said he was drawn to the VFW post in Sherman first for a bingo tournament before joining about three years ago. While he first served as the group’s quartermaster, McCann said he felt driven to the chaplain post due to his strong religious convictions. While not a pastor himself, McCann said he has felt his convictions and desire to serve grow, especially over the past decade.
“I say it as a lead in that not only do we serve our community and country, but we serve God as well,” he said. “We all have an attachment to God, whether we want to talk about it or not.”
Through this duty, McCann said he has assisted in funerals, ceremonial prayers and other services. This has also given him the chance to talk with VFW members about any issues they have in a comfortable, familiar environment. Among the topics and issues facing local veterans are suicide, homelessness and concerns about the Veteran Affairs system.
“There are times we talk about war, but more often it is about current issues,” he said.
Through his role with the VFW, McCann said he is trying to open programs to younger veterans, including those who served in Iraq and Afghanistan in the War on Terror. Through these conflicts, McCann said these veterans have a different perspective from a conflict that crosses the entire globe.
“We now see that the enemy we are now fighting is a world-wide threat,” he said.