A local businessman said a family member inspired him to join the U.S. Navy.
Jonathon Gammill's grandfather served in the Navy during World War II, and drove a U-Boat during the D-Day invasion.
"I grew up being with him and hearing stories," said Gammill, who owns RiverHawk Nutrition with his wife. "When I got the opportunity to join, I did the Navy because he did."
Gammill, 33, served from September 2007 to December 2010, when he was medically discharged. Stationed out of San Diego, Gammill was a steam propulsion engineer on the USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6), a Marine transport, which he said is a hair smaller than an aircraft carrier.
"I turned water into steam to power the ship," he said. "No one messed with me because I could turn off the electricity."
In 2010, the ship took part in the international maritime warfare exercise called RIMPAC, Rim of the Pacific Exercise, in Hawaii. During one maneuver, Gammill injured his knee, and due to the number of steps on the ship, he wasn't able to continue serving on it.
Originally from Prague, Oklahoma, Gammill moved to Tahlequah from Broken Arrow in February 2017, when he and his wife, Amanda, opened RiverHawk Nutrition. They had come to the area to pick up a rescue dog, and liked the town and found a space for an Herbalife shop.
He and Amanda will be married 11 years in November. They have two daughters, one in fifth grade and the other 18 years old. The oldest is due to have Gammill's first grandchild later this month. The family has two dogs: a miniature pinscher, and a chihuahua they rescued when it wandered up to RiverHawk Nutrition.
The Gammills became involved with Herbalife six years ago. They owned a couple of "clubs" or shops in Tulsa. Now, they have 12 locations on their team, with a new one to open soon next to Rib Crib.
Gammill believes his time in the Navy helped him succeed in business.
"I gained work ethic and value of hard work," he said. "Getting up early and staying late is easy because you do that in the military."
Gammill said he would recommend military service to others.
"I loved it. I enjoyed it," he said. "We help people looking to go in to lose weight or gain strength. We have partnered with recruiters. There's not a system to help them get ready, so we help with that."
Getting to travel and see the world are positive aspects to Gammill's time in the Navy.
While the family was stationed in California his whole enlistment, Gammill said it was hard to be away from them while he was deployed. Amanda was a nurse then, and was going to enlist, but decided against it once Gammill was injured.
As a 100 percent disabled veteran, Gammill uses the Veterans Affairs health care system. He also purchased their home in Broken Arrow with a VA loan.
"I know a lot of vets need help with PTSD. A lot slip through the cracks," said Gammill. "It takes a while to get through the system, but I feel like they're doing the best they can."
Being busy with work and family, Gammill hasn't become involved with local veteran organizations, but through the business he donates or helps with fundraisers.
"Wounded Warriors does a lot of events. I've heard a lot of good things about the VFW," he said. "I think the community does a really good job."
In his free time, Gammill spends time with his children, and he is in a running group, Legs Miserable Tahlequah.
"I love that we run two to three times a week. It's a lot of fun," he said. "We meet at 5:15 p.m. and run 3-6 miles. It's open if anyone wants to join. Some people walk or walk and run. It's a fun little group."
Gammill said he also tries to be involved in the community, and enjoys teaching nutrition to athletes at Tahlequah Public Schools and Northeastern State University.