If you know who I am, then most likely you know my story. I am a retired US Army Sergeant from the 101st Airborne Division. On my second tour of duty during Operation Iraqi Freedom, I was driving a Humvee at night and rolled over a wire that triggered a roadside IED. That explosion resulted in me losing my left arm above the elbow and left leg above the knee, as well as other severe injuries. After some really incredible medics worked to save my life, I ended up at Walter Reed Army Medical Center where I finally woke up. The road to recovery was long and it was painful. There were a lot of bumps along the way but one thing I realized was that I could share my story and maybe help some others who might currently be on that same road to recovery. It’s what led me to write my book – to share my struggles and maybe show that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. And it’s what led me to work with Wells Fargo to share with my fellow veterans and military members who are transitioning home that there is help out there and Wells Fargo has some programs specifically geared toward helping your transition.
There are lots of things you don’t think about when you get out of the military. Most of us are just happy to get to spend more time with the ones we love and expect to jump right back into the swing of things. But in addition to all of the emotional trials of transitioning, there’s everyday stuff to think about like household management and figuring out finances. I mostly had it together in that arena but I still battled depression that led me to make some not-so-great choices. Many people don’t know that these choices led to me losing my home and I became homeless. I was not proud of this. Thanks to one of these great organizations that serves veterans, I was given the support I needed to pull myself out of the hole I’d dug and I ended up with a brand new home and financial stability. Wells Fargo offers similar programs for financial education, where you can take online classes and attend seminars where you can learn all the basics about homeownership and finances. They are also developing a program to help veterans attain sustainable homeownership. I wish I’d taken more time to learn these things on the front end instead of after things had gotten so bad.
One thing I really admire about Wells Fargo is that they have pledged to hire 20,000 veterans by 2020. I think more companies should look at hiring veterans for positions that require leadership and team work. There’s no better place to learn those things that in the US Military. Career transition was a big obstacle for me. I honestly thought I’d be in the Army until I was too old to fight anymore or die in combat. I never expected to find myself in this limbo of trying to find what I could do next. I didn’t know about Wells Fargo’s special veteran career site which includes tools such as the “Hiring Our Heroes Resume Engine, which helps veterans translate their military skills into job skills. Luckily for me I finally figured out that talking is my gift and I love traveling the world, sharing my story in hopes of inspiring others to lead better, healthier lives.
No one person has all the answers for veterans who are transitioning home. However, it is my sincere hope that I can impact the lives of other veterans by sharing my story and promoting the companies and programs that have your back. Wether you’re trying to figure out the next chapter in your life or you need advice on making smart decisions, there’s someone there to help. The resources are there, but it’s up to you to take the first step and make contact with those who can help you. If you want to learn more about these Wells Fargo programs for veterans, as well as others, please visit http://bit.ly/2m8gD0N.
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