On Saturday, January 13, at the Blair Road United Methodist Church in Mint Hill, Charles (“Charlie”) Cosgrove, retired Command Sergeant Major, United States Army, was honored by the Clear Creek Militia Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution with the distinguished Community Service Award for all his years of work with United States Veterans covering many counties.
Charlie retired from active service in the United States Army in February of 2000, but remains “enlisted” in many veteran service organizations, including AMVETS, VFW, American Legion, and Knights of Columbus. He has raised thousands of dollars for veterans and has counseled hundreds of “at risk” teens for possible recruitment. “With the absence of so many father figures these days, these kids need the military more than ever.”
Janet Westbrook introduced Charlie by saying he “was a man who makes things happen, but seldom gets the credit.” He had no idea this honor was going to be bestowed on him.
In his acceptance speech, Charlie said he works hard for veterans for two reasons. The first reason is what he calls the “other man syndrome” when a soldier has close friends who die on the battlefield, and the soldier wonders why it was them and not him. He told of his two closest military comrades who did not come home from Desert Storm. The second reason is that when he was 15, he “was very close to living in a cardboard box,” but he convinced the National Guard that he was 17, and they allowed him to enlist and helped him get through high school. He said, “I accept this not only for me, but for all those who served.” He added, “God has been kind to me, and I know he has a purpose for me.”
Upon graduation from high school, Charlie joined the United States Army and became a paratrooper, then began working his way up the ranks. He became a command sergeant major in only 15 years, setting a record. He served in Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Kuwait. His service was not without sacrifice; he suffers from PTSD and deals with nightmares, flashbacks, and depression. However, he realizes he was fortunate to come home, and remains in otherwise good health.
Charlie is fond of the saying, “They who stand and wait also serve.” He is referring to his wife Tania and his children. “I have had to miss birthdays, graduations, funerals, and holidays so many times, but my family always stood behind me.”