Only a few months after turning 17 years old, I found myself leaving the green pastures of middle Georgia on a Greyhound to Atlanta Georgia’s Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS). I wasn’t alone. There were military – hopefuls scattered all throughout the trip. I met a few on the bus, at the hotel, and at MEPS. You could feel the excitement we all shared. We talked about what our expectations of bootcamp might be, and how we thought we might fit in with the different service branches we were choosing. I could not help but tingle with excitement as I noticed that of the thirty people or so recruits I had met, there were only two Marine hopefuls. All I could think about was wondering I had what it takes to be a part of “The Few, The Proud, The Marines”!
I frequently thought about what I was getting into. There was this creeping and odd anxiety associated with how much freedom I was giving away. For at least the next four years, I would dress, eat, sleep, move, think, and breath in concert with around a third of a million of America’s Finest Fighting Force. At times, I would be in danger. I might even lose my life. But for me, the moment I took the Oath of Enlistment all my anxieties quietened. It was in that moment, at the MEPS, swearing to Protect and Defend the Constitution of the United States that I really began to understand that I, could truly be apart of something greater than myself. I received the gift of service. I never looked back, and two deployments and four years later, I still don’t regret a minute of my tenure with the United States Marine Corps.
Flash forward 7 years. I began to recite the Attorney Oath at the Supreme Court of Georgia. As I uttered the words “I will Support and Defend the Constitution of the United States”, a familiar pride washed over me. I knew that I must carry on the traditions and values of the Marine Corps with me as I represented the citizens of Augusta, Georgia as a Public Defender; Honor, Courage, and Commitment. My ability to continue serving in this manner is only possible because of the benefits bestowed on me by the government of the United States and the United States Military and the Veteran support offices that have aided me ever since.
Invaluable was the aid provided to me to complete my Bachelor’s of Philosophy, Master’s of Business, and Juris Doctor. Even more critical, I was provided benefits from the government which allowed me to buy my mother a home. She would have most certainly experienced a length of homelessness if it was not for veteran’s benefits. I was granted healthcare coverage when I otherwise would not have been able to afford it. I had the privilege of traveling the world, and I was blessed with the honor of being a part of a combat squadron comprising the most vicious and powerful aviators on the planet. Serving this country brought me more joy and benefit than I could have ever imagined. For me, service changed my life for the better. So, I can recommend no other course of action more highly; serve.
Flash forward to today. I serve as the Corporate Relationship Manager for America’s Warrior Partnership. In this role, I have the privilege of giving back to the very same community that aided me in my personal and professional success. I specialize in navigating the breadth and complexity of the various veteran serving organizations. Whether it is the United States Office of Veteran Affairs, the 42 Congressionally Chartered Veteran Organizations, the 3,800 State and Local Veteran Service Offices or 45,000 various non-profits registered with the IRS, the Corporate Veteran’s Initiative will get your veterans connected to the earned benefits they have earned. We stand united with our partner business communities to give aid to warriors in need and encourage philanthropy to others. It is an honor to aid employers in knowing their veterans, fostering a military supportive workplace, and continuing service to the communities abroad.