Reflections from a Veterans Day Commute

Arlington Cemetery 200Like millions of workers, my day starts with a commute. While the mere mention of the word, “commute” is enough to make most workers groan, my ride is a daily highlight because it takes me past a list of must-see Washington, DC sites, starting with the Marine Corps (Iwo Jima) Memorial, and continuing with Arlington National Cemetery. Whether it’s Veterans Day, Memorial Day or any other day of the year, as my thoughts drift from the wife and kids to my daily to-do list, these adjacent memorials never fail to give purpose to my day by reminding me of the sacrifices made, and being made, by people who have served in the armed forces and their families.

In addition to the family members who have served in the military, I think not just about the difficulties veterans have faced while in the service, but also the challenges that greet them when they transition from the military to civilian life. Although the transition may be smooth for many, for many others the road from deployment to employment is a tough one.

One such person is Samuel Morales, who retired from the Army after 21 years. You would think that his service coupled with his experience in Medical Supply Logistics would make him a shoe-in for a good job. “My military experience unfortunately did not translate as well as I had hoped, leaving me frustrated and fearful of how I would take care of my family as we transitioned into the civilian world,” he said.

Samuel learned that the Goodwill in his community (San Antonio, TX) could help him. Through its Good Careers Academy (GCA), Samuel enrolled in a pharmacy technician training program, which allowed him to leverage his military experience to prepare for a job in a high-growth occupation. “Today, I no longer worry about how I will take care of my family. I am on the path to a new career and an even brighter future.”

In 2014, more than 70,000 veterans had stories like Samuel about how Goodwill helped them to overcome their employment challenges. As I ride home tonight, tomorrow, and the day after that, I will look at the Marine Corps Memorial with a sense of pride in the work that local Goodwill agencies do every day to help veterans find jobs and advance in careers.

If you are a veteran seeking a job or career advancement, or if you know someone who is, please share this blog, and let them know that they can locate contact information for their local Goodwill by clicking here.