Happy Veteran’s Day!

Interview with Sugarmaker and US Navy Officer, Mark Metzger

Smoky Lake: In which branch of the military did you serve and what was your role there?

Mark: U.S. Navy–28 years active duty.  I was a nuclear-trained Surface Warfare Officer and had command of a guided missile frigate

Smoky Lake: In what locations have you served? Have you done a lot of traveling?

Mark: Traveled all over the world (best port visit–Halifax Nova Scotia); Family and I were stationed in Newport, RI, Norfolk, VA, Bremerton, WA, and in Yokosuka, Japan.

Smoky Lake: What has been the most rewarding aspect of your career?

Mark: Most rewarding–working alongside great people with a great work ethic (I miss them and that); having command at sea and finishing my sea tours as Chief Engineer of USS ENTERPRISE were amazing as well.

Smoky Lake: Have your experiences in the military influenced the way you operate your maple syrup business in any way?

Mark: Navy experience — and consulting since then in continuous improvement/operational excellence — has challenged me to improve every year multiple aspects of collecting, storing, and processing maple sap.

Smoky Lake: What is your favorite thing about the maple season?

Mark: Favorite things about maple season: 

  • Sunny/cold days
  • The smell of sap being boiled
  • Listening to and seeing the Sandhill Cranes migrating north (they fly in massive flocks over our area)
  • Knowing that Spring is around the corner

Smoky Lake: From your perspective, what are the best ways we can honor and remember those service members who have given their lives for our country and our freedom?

Mark: To honor these heroes, I’d say some of the best ways to honor and remember them on Memorial Day include:

  • Prayer (the big one)
  • Obtaining and displaying a flag
  • Visiting a national cemetery (we have one near Joliet, IL but I’m sure there’s probably one in WI). 
  • Encouraging the younger generation to volunteer for military service will pay dividends for us as a country and them as individuals.