The Gifts of Service

Memorial Day, military cemetery salute

Saluting those who have made the ultimate sacrifice

Brett Melancon, our vice president and senior art director, joined the Navy Reserve out of high school, was a radio man tracking foreign submarines from his post in Jacksonville and then in Bermuda (OK, not a hardship post). “Oh yes, subs were out there, more than you think.” Later, in West Virginia, he was on alert for Desert Storm. While there aren’t (we think) many submarines lurking in the Tennessee River, Brett’s military training gave him an appreciation of working within a chain of command and a high regard for the planning process. He trained his staff to present impeccable electronic files, to grow with critiques, to manage a growing work flow without letting up on creative demands, to do it right because every detail matters.

Charmin Foth, our sales and business development leader, was a military spouse for a decade. Serving spouses as their loved ones deployed all over the world, she was active as a volunteer in Army Community Service and as a Family Readiness Leader. While they were stationed in Bad Kreuznach, Germany, she was awarded the Star of Volunteerism by the Army Community Club for always being ready to help families understand and cope with the challenges of life. During this time, she also telecommuted, managing page design of a trade journal. She says, “Being a military spouse you learn independence, flexibility, patience, compassion, tolerance and stress management. Within the military community, I witnessed a sense of purpose, work ethic, pride in a job well done and camaraderie that is hard to find in the civilian world. FMB has these qualities. I know when I take on a new client, the work will absolutely be better than the client even imagined. That’s our purpose.”

Pamela Schoenewaldt, one of our writers, taught writing at NATO and Naval bases in Southern Italy. She helped enlisted service men and women create proposals they could present up their chain of command. Some found the words to clear up unfinished business with those back home. They learned that Mark Twain said, “The difference between the almost right word and the right word is the difference between the lighting bug and the lightning.” She still shivers at the memory of a huge soldier in fatigues who read a piece to the class and turned back with tears in his eyes: “They understood me. They got it.” Words do matter, and at FMB, they’re expertly supported by the right visuals, design, platform and process. For sure there’s nothing military in our look here at FMB, but we do appreciate every day the gifts of service.

Jody Freeman,


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