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Aaron Harper

Aaron is a 1988 graduate of Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island. After earning the title, “United States Marine”, he became a Navy/Marine air traffic controller. Aaron deployed with Marine Air Traffic Control Squadron 28 to Operations Desert Shield, Desert Storm, Cease Fire and Provide Comfort to deliver air traffic services at Ras Al Mashib and Lonesome Dove in Saudi Arabia and at Kuwait City in Kuwait. During this deployment, he sustained an injury to his lower back which eventually led to his very early medical retirement from the Corps in 1993. Aaron went on to earn a dual BS degree in Middle Grades Math and Science Education from NC State University in 1997. In 2013, he earned his MBA from Queens University of Charlotte’s McColl School of Business.

In 2006, Aaron began volunteering with a small group of Marines and supporters to create the Marine Corps Coordinating Council of Greater Charlotte (dba Carolina Marines). The non-profit organization’s mission is to support Marines and their families and promote the Marine Corps in the Charlotte-area through physical fitness fundraising activities and luncheons featuring senior Marine leaders. Since forming, the Carolina Marines have organized and executed six mud runs at Belmont Abbey College, several 5Ks, combat buddy races and team challenges.

Through his work in the Carolina Marines, Aaron has partnered with dozens of other military and veteran organizations to ensure that veterans, military members and their families are cared for in the Charlotte-area. Recently they created a community calendar of military and veteran events: https://carolinamarines.org/Event_Calendar.php to help all of the organizations plan and promote their events. Aaron also serves as a volunteer with the North Carolina Employer Support of Guard & Reserves and North Carolina Heroes Fund and he works with the Charlotte Knights and Carolinas Healthcare System as their military/veteran advisor.

Although Aaron has had dozens of spinal operations and procedures, he does his best to stay in shape and routinely participates in long distance bicycling events including Carolinas Rehabilitation 2014 Cycle to the Sea (http://www.carolinashealthcare.org/rehabilitation-cycle-to-the-sea) from Monroe, NC to N. Myrtle Beach, SC. On this 180 mile ride, Aaron and other “able bodied” riders helped push paraplegic athletes in hand cycles.

When asked why Aaron is so passionate about supporting the military and veterans, he recalls a line from Oliver Stone’s movie Platoon, “…those of us who did make it have an obligation to build again. To teach to others what we know, and to try with what’s left of our lives to find a goodness and a meaning to this life.”

Aaron is married to the former Michele Ann Peeler of Hendersonville, NC. Aaron is a very supportive Army spouse to Michele. She is an Army Blackhawk helicopter pilot and lieutenant colonel who served in Iraq from 2008-2009. Michele also holds the distinction of becoming the first female aviator to command an aviation battalion in the North Carolina National Guard. The couple have three young sons and reside in Weddington, NC.