“I always tell people that I would not be here if it wasn’t for the Air Force because what I learned in the Air force helped me to transit into civilian life,” said Louis Mcleod, Vietnam Veteran.
Louis ‘Mac’ Mcleod wasn’t raised with a military background.
He was born and raised in New Jersey to a father who was a pastor and a mother who was a nurse, but after watching things unfold in Vietnam, he figured, why not join now?
“Most of the people that I knew were going to be drafted and I figured I was going to be drafted. It came a point and time as I was watching things unfold during the 60s that sooner or later I said, ‘why don’t you just go ahead and go on your own accord?’ So I enlisted with some of my friends and we went in because we wanted to make a difference,” Mcleod said.
Mcleod went on to enlist in the U.S. Air Force in 1968, serving 24-years as a police officer. But he said there, is where he learned the basics of becoming a man.
“Organizational skills, management, leadership, teamwork, those are things that in most military cases you learn, but having the opportunity to actually put them together as you rise up the ranks and in different job settings that’s something a lot of people do not get to do,” Mcleod said.
His service was nothing short of a learning trail — traveling to Maine, Korea, Vietnam, Delaware, Spain — and eventually Minot, where he retired and began his purpose of giving beyond the military war front.
“From the time that I got here I was involved with the community, and I learned a lot from a lot of people. I had several mentors in the community who allowed me and afforded me the opportunity to do quite a bit of things along with what I was doing in the military,” Mcleod said.
Inspired by working with youth in the community, individuals with disabilities and Kalix, Mcleod began a troop of his own creating the Minot Area Homeless Coalition, a non-profit organization set to help those in need.
“Having the ability to have impact on somebody’s life who is hurting, who is in need, it is a tremendous responsibility…The way I look at it. Not everybody, even if they know somebody who needs help, is going to help them,” Mcleod said.
Mcleods Coalition has now been up-and-running for 34-years, serving seven counties in North Dakota alongside other non-profits.
“We collaborate and work with a lot of agencies from Salvation Army to Community Action to Domestic Crisis Center to the Men’s Winter Refuge and I can go on, but that’s the one thing to me that sets Minot apart compared to other places I’ve been… is that they’re all working for the common good,” Mcleod said.
And now, for almost 50 years, Mcleod has called Minot home and will continue to work for the communities good.
“If you call this home be a good community partner and let’s make things happen,” said Mcleod.