Henry Lowery doesn’t let anything get in his way. Born in Carrabelle, Florida, he was bussed to school in nearby Apalachicola until his high school years. He faced adversity at a new high school, but after he and his brothers excelled in baseball and football and the school started winning games, the discrimination stopped.
Upon graduation and against his father’s wishes, Henry became a Marine. He honorably served his country with two tours in Vietnam, the Persian Gulf, Beirut, Lebanon, and Grenada.
While stationed in Parris Island as a drill instructor, Henry met his future wife, Mona Lisa, who worked in the mailroom. When Henry asked for her number, she declined. She didn’t want to date a soldier. Henry persisted and eventually Mona Lisa agreed to a date. They married in 1972 and have two children, six grandchildren, and a beautiful great granddaughter.
Henry trained hundreds of Marines for combat during his years at Quantico, Virginia, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, and 29 Palms, California. He was personally invested in their success and more importantly, in their survival. Henry says helping other soldiers and veterans “gives me peace and I feel like I’ve done something good for an American. I sleep better at night.”
After 33 years of active duty, Chief Warrant Officer Lowery was honorably discharged from the Marine Corps. He returned to his hometown of Carrabelle and was tasked by the Sheriff to help organize the Camp Gordon Johnston WW II Museum. Six months later, he moved to Tallahassee, training workers on machinery and in construction for his family’s business, Lowery Masonry & Construction, Co.
Henry felt compelled to continue helping local veterans. He volunteers his time at the Tallahassee National Cemetery, the American Legion, the local chapter of the Vietnam Veterans of America, and many local and national organizations.
In March 2015, Henry became a founding member of the Big Bend Hospice Valor Team. The Valor Team is a group of volunteer veterans who honor veterans at the end of life by recognizing their service to their country with a moving service that includes their family members. Henry is always the first volunteer to show up for the 40+ ceremonies performed each year. Henry states, “Veterans don’t need to leave this earth without the respect they deserve.”
CWO-5 Lowery will continue to honor and assist veterans for the rest of his life. When asked what would he like young people to know about veterans, Henry says he’d “like young people to know that veterans risked their lives for you to have the freedom to live your life.”
Henry has lived a full life of service to his country, to his family, and to veterans. He has satisfied fulfilling all the dreams on his bucket list and now looks forward to watching his granddaughter graduate from Maclay. His next goal is to help her pursue her dream of becoming an astronaut.
Henry is the recipient of over 25 awards and honors but he’ll tell you that the secret to living a full life is to put others first, to be prepared, train for the unexpected and to honor veterans. It’s not surprising that Henry’s motto is “Always faithful.” Semper Fi!
By Lisa Baggett