Semper Solaris gifts solar panels to local Marine veteran

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SAN DIEGO — A Marine veteran’s Kensington home is getting a solar panel makeover courtesy of San Diego-based Semper Solaris.

Retired Marine Jack Lyon has a lot of wisdom to share since he returned home from Vietnam. Back then, his welcome was not warm but he used that experience to help other vets. 

“The strange thing about war is there’s a lot of bad stuff and horror but there’s also a lot of really incredible gifts out of it,” Lyon said. “One of them is the sense of unconditional love. You care more for the kid on your right or your left than you do for yourself and once you’ve tasted that, you go through the rest of your life looking for that. And so for me, when these wars kicked off in Iraq and Afghanistan, I understood what these kids would be coming home to. It was just a natural thing to try to be helpful to them. But what happens is these guys, these Marines gave me back the Marine Corps and brought me home.” 

In Lyon’s service as a Marine, he received the Silver Medal of Valor, the Purple Heart, a Navy Commendation with Combat V and the Cross Of Gallantry with Gold Star. But it’s his work that he’s still doing today that is making a huge difference in the lives of other vets like Povas Miknaitis, who was struggling after returning injured from tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

“He has such a peace about him to be able to talk you through whatever you’re dealing with,” Miknaitis said. “Everything seems so much more clear after you get through talk with Jack. He’s a saving grace for a lot of our veterans.” 

Miknaitis is one of many who nominated Jack to received free solar panels for his Kensington home from Semper Solaris, a San Diego-based company committed to hiring veterans and giving back through its Semper Cares initiative. 

John Almund is one of the solar company’s two owners.

“Some of them are overjoyed, some of them are thrilled and quite frankly, some of them are embarrassed,” Almund said. “For me, it feels great. It really feels wonderful to do it and it’s very humbling because they’ve made sacrifices that most of us could never even imagine.” 

Lyon and his wife Barbara of 37 years couldn’t be more deserving. Lyon has worked tirelessly with other vets to provide a way back to civilian life. He has been described as a beacon of hope and offers some incredible insight to all. 

“What happens in war is, you’re at that junction of life and death and you are presenting yourself to that and if you’re lucky enough to survive, death doesn’t go away. It sort of sits on your shoulder and tells you how valuable this moment is, how valuable this day is,” Lyon said. “And we are all in this together, so let’s go!” 

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