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As a young man out of high school, knowing that college was not the best immediate option, I enlisted in the United States Army in September 2001. I was on my couch enjoying my last few days as a civilian when I turned on the TV to see our country attacked on Sept. 11. I vividly remember thinking to myself, “what will happen now?” Needless to say, my basic training experience had a little extra mustard on it so to speak, as well as my advanced individual training to become a field artillery radar operator.
I arrived to a unit at Fort Lewis, Washington, that was preparing to deploy, so the pace was quick and there was not a lot of room for mistakes nor was there the ability to learn at our own pace. The next chapter unfortunately involved a careless injury sustained on my part and due to the nature of the service at the time, transferring to an administrative position in an undeployable status was not an option. I was medically discharged from service. While not easy or always fun, I will forever be grateful for the time I did spend serving and for the amazing soldiers I served with. God bless those serving, and all of our veterans!
The innumerable lessons learned in my short service time set the foundation for how I would approach any career moving forward. First of all, discipline. I have found that the discipline that was hammered into us has served me well in every job I have done—from working at AltaOne Federal Credit Union coming out of the service to my current job in physical security working for the U.S. Department of Defense.
Second, having to work as part of a team. I realize this is not specific to the military, but I think I can confidently state the manner in which it is taught and the consequences for not conforming are fairly unique to the service members. That ability to work as part of a team was instrumental in adapting to a completely different environment coming out of the service and going to work for a credit union.
Finally, the willingness to put both others as well as a cause above anything relating to self. This lesson was critical for me in developing a fiduciary mindset as a volunteer for AltaOne, first as member of the supervisory committee and now as a board member.