Following a family tradition and a personal calling to serve our great country, I joined the U.S. Army right out of high school. When I took that flight from Cleveland to Fort Jackson, I was on a path to join a then little-known group of elite soldiers known simply as EOD—explosive ordnance disposal technicians—which, as the military’s bomb squad, includes conventional, improvised, chemical, and nuclear ordnance threat disablement operations. During my time in EOD, I was also assigned to numerous U.S. Secret Service and State Department protection details.
This training and experience rapidly transformed a semi-awkward 18-year-old kid. The men and women I served with created an unbreakable brotherhood of service and excellence. If life gave you a reset button, I would have chosen the same path again. That path continues to be a solid foundation block of who I am today.
There is a strong thread between being a veteran and working in the credit union industry. Service above profit, cooperative support with a relationship focus. With me specifically, I attribute my attention to detail, expectation for member service excellence, strategic planning, and the ability to keep perspective about small challenges to the Army. I think that my capacity to listen, collaborate, and get to a solution were fine-tuned during my time in the Army EOD.
The EOD motto is “initial success or total failure.” I don’t see my role and daily tasks now as quite that acute, but I give a nod to that ethos. CommStar Credit Union members rely on our decisions to help them succeed in everyday life in all varieties of need. I do not want to fail that expectation. I hold myself, my team, and our volunteer board accountable to that standard.
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