Westover grad's speech moves MCLB vets to tears

Othellious Cato, a recently graduated senior at Westover High School, delivered a speech to veterans at the MCLB monthly retiree breakfast. The speech recently won second place in the Albany Exchange Club's Speech Contest and focuses on the condition of being a soldier. / Doug Reardon

Each month, the Marine Corps Logistics Base in Albany hosts its retiree breakfast and on most occasions, the meetings are business as usual. But this breakfast was a little different for the former warriors.

This month, they got a chance to hear a speech delivered by Othellious Cato, a recently graduated senior from Westover High School. Cato's speech was one that hit home for him, as well as the dozens of retired veterans in the room.

"My speech shows the proper honor and gratitude we should give to our veterans," Cato said.

The award-winning speech portrays what it is like to be a warrior â" to fight for freedom on behalf of those who cannot, all the while painting vivid images of troops storming the beaches of Normandy and patrolling the deserts of Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan. Cato talks about honor, bravery and sacrifice. And when the speech was over, there were few dry eyes in the room full of former servicemen.

"Othellious did a fantastic job representing a younger generation," said Colonel Don Davis of MCLB Albany. "A generation that these veterans and these retirees â" sometimes we think they forget. But Othellious made it clear that he gets it, and that he's a patriot."

"[Veterans] have truly made a sacrifice," said Othellious. "Them and their families. When a serviceman serves their family serves as well. And they have made sacrifices so that we may stand here and live our American dream."

Othellious mentioned he had many friends and family members in the armed services, making this an issue of great importance to him. He was recently named runner-up in the Albany Exchange Club's Speech Contest, and will attend Valdosta State in the fall to major in political science.