November 11th each year marks the day, as a nation, we set aside time to say thank you to our military service members, both present and past. Like most, I am appreciative and thankful for the sacrifices that so many Americans have made to ensure we can go about our days with the freedoms we have.

Today, about .5% of the US citizens currently serve in the Armed Forces. Approximately 1% of us are immediately related to a service member. Females make up 10% of the service member population.   Only 5% of the citizens of the US are closely connected to a soldier, sailor, airman, marine or coastguardsman. If you are at a sports event, in your spiritual sanctuary, at your local governments meeting, or attending a concert, you could pull 200 random people aside and only one of them would be an active or reserve component member. Two of them would have a close family member serving and 10 of the 200 would be close friends someone who serves our nation.


Nathan and Taylor Hoffman, CeCe Caldwell’s Paints Distributors – Photo Credit A. Dolliver


Do those numbers surprise you? They certainly amazed me. At the height of the WWII, the 1 in 200 people from your random group would have been 24 of the 200. Doing the math, that means that 75 years ago, all of the 200 people you selected would have had a close friend protecting our freedoms and rights. Astonishing how far removed we, as a country, have become from those who serve each of us. Today, the US veteran population is roughly 9% of our country’s adults.


Col. Ramsey Bentley, husband of Staci Bentley, Central Southeastern Distributor Unit. Photo contributed by unknown to Shelby County Reporter

CeCe Caldwell’s Paints is a small, family owned and operated business. We have 10 full time employees. In the US, we have 7 Distributor Units, and 250+ Retailer Units. Looking at the Distributor Units, 2 of them are comprised, in part, of an Active Duty service member and the spouse of a 3rd is a former service member. One Retailer is a reserve component member (married to an active duty spouse) and several more are married to a service member and there are many that are Veterans or married to veterans. Twenty percent of our full time employees are veterans.   I am pleased and proud that we have so many current and former members (and spouses because they relinquish so much of their lives as well) in the CeCe Caldwell’s Paints family.

Additionally, both my father and father-in-law volunteered and spent their time in the military. My father was a sailor and my father in law was a career soldier.   They will never know the entirety of the influence their service had on our family.


Kevin Rose – CeCe Caldwell’s Paints employee – photo from Facebook

Every military member today makes a choice to protect your and my freedom of speech, religion, press, assembly and petition.    To each of them I would like to acknowledge that choice. They knew they would be sacrificing time with their family and friends, that they would miss important days ‘back home’, that their physical and mental being would be tested, challenged, and conceivably subjected to injury and harm. They knew they would never be the same. They hoped for growth, maturity, discipline, personal development, and leadership skills while knowing injury, disability and death were a genuine possibility. I believe those of us who have not made that decision cannot fully comprehend the nature of the sacrifice. Not only today, but also every day I am grateful for the selfless choice they made for you and me. Thank you.

Since you are reading this on a blog about paint, I want to specifically mention two wonderfully talented furniture artists: Michelle Cruz and Claudia Twiss.

Michelle is a CeCe Caldwell’s Paints Retailer who is former active duty and currently reserve component soldier. Her husband is an veteran soldier.


Michelle Cruz – Photo Credited to C. Ryan


Claudia Twiss — Photo from Facebook

Claudia is an active duty soldier (as is her husband) who very recently returned from Afghanistan.   Ladies, thank you for your service to our country.

Please indulge me while I express special thanks to my husband, Eric (aka RT Caldwell). He is a retired soldier. The Army taught him many skills. He has in turn taught me many of them. Trust, patience and composure under fire are just a few. He has used his skills to help build CeCe Caldwell’s Paints with and beside me. He believed in me and in our ability to make my dream come true.  He has contributed as much to the dream as I have. Thank you, my love.


Circa 1984 Copperhead 2-3

 Let not their service go unnoticed.