Soon after Pam Whynot started dating her now-husband of 40 years, they went to a Fourth of July parade together.
It was 1974, and Chuck Whynot had recently been honorably discharged after serving four years in Vietnam with the U.S. Marines.
“The minute the military flag holders walked by,” his wife recalls, “he’s standing at attention, he’s saluting.”
Whynot realized then, “It just means so much for him to be here.”
What attracted Whynot, now 63, to her husband, now, 64, was his clean-cut look and the way he enjoyed his life, she said. “He was happy to have served, but also happy to be home and figuring out what he would do next.”.
But one of the things that struck her most, she said, was her husband’s passion for the military – a passion that has stuck with both of them throughout their marriage and brought them closer together.
Chuck Whynot visits housebound veterans though Southern Maine Agency on Aging’s Vet-to-Vet program and is the service officer for the American Legion. He also volunteers with the Veterans for Foreign Wars, the Windham Veterans Association and the Marine Corps League.
Pam Whynot, who retired as a teacher in 2014, now works part time for Learning Works in Portland in an after-school program for second-language students. She is also president of the American Legion Auxiliary, which organizes events with the American Legion. Together, the couple help plan celebratory and fundraising events for local veterans groups.
And now, when the Whynots attend parades and ceremonies, they bring their grandchildren and “try to instill in them why veterans are so important,” she said.
“He’s so proud of what he is and what he has done it rubs off on all of us,” she said.