RALEIGH, N.C. — “I’m not the epitome of what ‘Army’ looks like. I’m four foot eleven inches. It’s almost entertaining to me,” said Maj. Dena DeLucia, a civil affairs officer with the U.S. Army Civil Affairs & Psychological Operations Command (Airborne).
“Everyone wants to envision a five foot ten, big, bronzing man standing at attention representing the Army. But really, any time you put the uniform on, you’re representing the military and anyone foolish enough to stand at attention for a good cause, it becomes more of an obligation to gain attention to those who serve and sacrifice.”
For the second year in a row, DeLucia volunteered to stand at attention for a total of ten hours, Sept. 7, raising $9,759 to help benefit Active Heroes, a charity who has helped over 1900 military Families, Veterans and wounded warriors with financial support, programs to combat post traumatic stress disorder and veteran suicide. Alongside a representative from the Marines, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard, and the only female to participate ever, DeLucia was part of the reason the charity was able to raise $38,269 in support of a North Carolina endowment for military Families in need.
The Stand at Attention competition, held at the Triangle Towne Center in Raleigh, N.C., pitted different branches in the military against one another to see who could stand the longest and who could raise the most money in their branch’s namesake. For the third year, all branches lasted the full ten hours and it came down to which branch actually raised the most. All day, it was a race between Navy and Marines. This year’s North Carolina competition was in honor of Master at Arms Second Class Philip Bordeaux, a Durham native, who was killed in a car wreck just weeks prior to the competition in a car accident in Naples, Italy.
“Last year, I just happened to be the first person to volunteer. This year, after learning about the honoring of Philip and finding out the Army volunteer had to back out last minute, I of course had to step in again,” explained DeLucia, who volunteered just days before the competition this year. “I had to be there for Cathy (Bordeaux’s mother).”
The Bordeaux Family was also surprised to find out that from now on the Stand Event in Raleigh, N.C. will continue to be named in honor of Philip as well as the North Carolina Endowment.
“First, I want to thank all the folks that came and stood to represent each branch of the military,” Cathy said in a Facebook status. “These folks stood in attention for ten hours to raise money for their fellow brothers and sisters in the military … In the end we raised over $38,000 for military Families, over $8,000 our goal. Philip would be so proud.”
As for preparing for such an event, DeLucia really didn’t need to do much.
“It’s all about the standards and discipline of the military,” she explained. “The Army ensures we are always prepared. Whether it’s standing at attention for ten hours, or getting ready for a combat convoy, we will always be ready.”
“Active Heroes does a lot of good work for veterans, and I enjoy volunteering my time to any charity that helps out veterans,” she continued. “I’ve been deployed four times, I understand what it means to serve. Anyone who raises their right hand to defend our constitution, for whatever reason, they’re doing something that 99.9 percent of American don’t do. And that’s to serve. Everyone in the United States needs to thank them and if it’s by supporting a local veterans’ charity. I’m for it.”