by Daniel Freeman
Patriotism led Chuck Riley to join the U.S. Marine Corps.
It's also been a guiding force in his life after military service, he said last week.
"They taught me to be an upstanding citizen and to try to do what is right and have respect for others," Riley said.
Riley, now 45, enlisted shortly after graduating from high school in 1989.
Boot camp was "13 weeks long and very rough," he said. Letters from home helped him master being homesick, he added.
Following training, he served at the Cherry Point Marine Air Corps Station, where he worked on the Harrier jump jets. Later, he performed the same duties aboard an aircraft carrier.
At first, he would spend his leave time with his family.
Then he met the woman who would become his wife. They met, he said, because his roommate was dating his wife's roommate.
"After that, I stayed closer to her in North Carolina," Riley said.
That's also where the couple settled down following Riley's honorable discharge in 1994. They bought a house there and he took a job as a truck driver.
Three years later, the couple moved to the Rising Sun area. After working at Herr's Foods in Nottingham and the Chrysler plant in Newark, he started a business in 2007.
Riley named it Freedom Carpet and Tile Care because he felt that reflected his patriotism.
He has also stayed in touch with Marines he met during his enlistment.
Riley also works with other veterans as a member of Mason-Dixon American Legion Post 194, Rising Sun, and the V.F.W. Post 6027 in North East.
"When I am around other veterans who have served, I feel a lot of respect for them," he said.
He also coaches high school football at Rising Sun and tries to pass on his love of country to his children.
"I have taught my children Austin and Marina to always respect the flag." Riley said.