Crafting Killer Veteran Resumes For Civilian Employment

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transitioning veterans

By Russ Hovendick

I review more than 200 resumes every day, and I notice that those from military folks have common pitfalls. What happens when these types of resumes find their way to a civilian employer’s desk? In most cases, they end up in the trash bin or buried in the inbox.

Your skills and talents are too valuable to end up in “no man’s land,” so give employers a reason to hold onto your resumes.

What follows are some of the common mistakes I see in military resumes.

Acronyms and Military Jargon—Ditch Them
After spending any amount of time in the military, I’m sure it’s natural for military acronyms to become part of your everyday vernacular. But when you use acronyms in your resume and any other communications with civilian employers (e.g., e-mails, phone calls, job interviews), you’re speaking a foreign language. Employers don’t want to have to ask or research what an acronym represents. It’s your responsibility to make sure you’re conveying information clearly. To be frank, it’s more annoying than anything else to see an acronym in a resume. It shows the applicant’s laziness and inability to anticipate that the acronym might be a stumbling block for the employer.

For example, here’s a line taken from the top section of a military resume: “I am a certified DOD mediator to hear EO complaints.” Leave the certification for the bottom of the resume. In the body, the employer is more interested in hearing about the quality of work you’ve done. Here is what he’s probably thinking: Tell me the details of your work as a mediator. Give me a glimpse of the types of disputes you mediated and how you resolved them. And, by the way, I know DOD means Department of Defense, but what the heck is an “EO complaint”?

Too Many Numbers,Too Little Explanation
Numbers are a good thing. If they demonstrate something meaningful about your previous experiences (e.g., you introduced a new policy that reduced processing time by 30 percent), include them. But often in the military, some numbers are so intimidating that they deplete the importance of the accomplishment you’re trying to showcase. For example, if a veteran says he oversaw 200 soldiers, the employer would know he couldn’t have possibly had much personal contact with all 200 of them. But if he mentioned that he trained five sergeants to lead their groups of 40 soldiers each, the statement is more meaningful.

Overemphasis on Technical Skills—Show Your Soft Skills
If you’re applying for a technical position, your resume should play up your technical skills. But you’re not a robot. You drive that fuel your technical aptitude. Make sure that comes across in your resume. No matter what job you’re applying for, employers want to see soft skills, too, such as leadership style, communication skills, motivation to make a difference and more.

Lengthiness, Longwinded Language—Be Concise, Get to the Point
No matter how many years of experience you’ve had, no one should have a resume that’s more than two pages long. If you’re applying for a technical job and want to highlight specific projects, I recommend attaching a separate sheet of case studies or projects. You never want the person reviewing your resume to feel frustrated, overwhelmed or lost. A reviewer who gets bored reading your resume might get the impression you’re dull or bland. A reviewer who gets confused reading your resume might think you’re not a clear communicator or simply not bright. The best way to avoid conveying this impression is to be concise. Get straight to the point. Use action words to bring life to the resume and by using as few words as possible. Every word on your resume occupies valuable space. Don’t waste space on meaningless words. You don’t even need full sentences—use bulleted lists where appropriate.

“So, What?” Statements—Tell Me Why It Matters
Sometimes, I read a statement in a resume and think to myself, “So, what?” Then, I prod the candidate for more information and realize that he or she simply didn’t highlight the significant part of that experience. Former Marine Nolan Ruby gave this great advice: Employers just don’t know how to interpret military accomplishments into their own private companies. It’s up to you to explain it.

Highlighting Decades of Military Service Makes You Look Old
It’s perfectly understandable that you might feel proud of having served, say, 20 years in the military. But don’t create additional hurdles through misconceptions by explicitly stating at the top of your resume that you had a 20-year career in the armed forces. When employers see that a person has held a position for a couple of decades, they automatically assume the candidate must be old when, in fact, the individual could be as young as 38 if he or she joined right out of high school. Let the employers see your skills and experience first, and do the math later. Don’t give them an easy reason to reject you. If you’ve spent many years in the military, I recommend writing “extensive experience,” instead of the number of years served.

Create Multiple Resume Versions
If you are looking for jobs in multiple industries, you’ll need to tailor your resume for each industry. We’ve already pointed out the different languages of the military and civilian worlds. Now, think of the various industries in the same way. Law firm staffers talk very differently from tech startups. People in the medical field use different terminology from people in manufacturing. The more you know about your ideal employers, the better you will be at determining what they are looking for, and therefore, what to include in your resume.

Use a Hybrid Profile-Objective-Company Heading
I often see resumes with the applicant’s objective listed at the top. Here’s a typical example:
“To secure employment as a project manager at an information technology firm.” As an executive recruiter who knows how hiring managers think, I find this type of statement unhelpful. It tells the employer what you want, not what you can offer. On the other hand, I’ve also seen resumes with a profile heading that highlights key skills, qualifications or summarizes the applicant’s experience in a sentence. The profile heading can be helpful, but it runs the risk of repeating items included in the resume. Consequently, I propose a hybrid model that incorporates the applicant’s profile, his or her objective and a complimentary description of the company the applicant is applying for. Here’s an example of the hybrid profile-objective-company heading: “Electrical designer with expertise in automation and relay logic systems searching for an innovative manufacturing company.”

Lacking Education? Highlight Your Professional Development
If you’ve never completed high school or college and you’re wondering what to list in the education section of the resume, no need to worry. I recommend following the advice from Monster resume expert Kim Isaacs: Create a professional development section in which you highlight vocational training, certifications, courses and even seminars or conferences you attended. If you did not complete high school but passed the GED, don’t include the GED on your resume. Employers tend to assume that candidates graduated from high school. You may hear differing opinions from other career counselors, but I firmly believe it’s better not to highlight the fact that you did not earn a high school diploma.

Creating a killer resume takes a lot of thought, time and effort … but the more work you put into creating your resume, the more success you’ll see.

Source: Quintessential Careers

Practical Resume Advice for Military Veterans

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Man holding a sign that says "Sell Your Skills"

Switching careers takes courage. And veterans know a thing or two about courage. But when military personnel finish serving their country and look to re-enter civilian life, they need more than just strong nerves to make the transition to a new career. Finding a job demands practical strategies.

For veterans, the struggle is often aligning the skills and experiences they’ve gained in the military with the types of jobs that exist outside the military. On top of that, long-serving veterans don’t have a lot of experience with resume making.

Not to worry. This post is all about helping those that have served in the armed forces create resumes as they seek out civilian positions.

We love bringing insights from job recruiters into the products and resources we offer. So, after talking with recruiters about their experiences hiring veterans, we’ve focused this post on the following areas:

Keep in mind that there are plenty of other considerations when making a resume. So be sure to also see our guide on how to build a resume in 2019.

Best resume format for military veterans

There are three different resume formats that are typically used for resumes. For veterans, the most suitable choice is what is called a “functional” or “skills-based” resume format.

Why this? Well the logic behind the functional format is that it gives greater attention to the skills a person has developed. This stands in contrast to the “reverse chronological” resume format, which offers more space for a person to outline a long employment history in order to demonstrate career progression.

Many veterans have spent much of their working life in the military, so their employment history is really one employer – even if they have progressed through different roles or ranks.

That being the case, listing all the positions and responsibilities over a military career often isn’t the best strategy for persuading recruiters in the public or private sector.

This is because recruiters often aren’t familiar with the types of work military personnel undertake, and therefore may not see the applicability of military experience.

To avoid this problem, veterans should focus less on describing their former roles/responsibilities, and instead focus on highlighting the skills they have gained that are directly relevant to the position they are seeking.

Sample of a Military to Civilian Resume

military veteran resume example

Continue on to Novoresume.com to begin building your resume!

ESPN Presents the Pat Tillman Award for Service to Former U.S. Marine Kirstie Ennis at The 2019 ESPYS on July 10

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Kirstie Ennis cover of U.S. Veterans Magazine

While on duty in Afghanistan, former Marine Corps Sergeant Kirstie Ennis was in a helicopter crash in an active combat zone that resulted in severe injuries including facial trauma, a traumatic brain injury, cervical and lumbar spine trauma, and bilateral shoulder damage. Following more than a dozen surgeries, doctors decided to amputate above the knee on her left leg. Having been an athlete for most of her life, Ennis turned to sports as part of her recovery.

The former U.S. Veterans Magazine‘s cover founded the Kirstie Ennis Foundation to provide education and opportunity in the outdoors and to support other non-profits dedicated to improving the quality of life of individuals and families. For her dedication to serving others, Ennis will receive the Pat Tillman Award for Service sponsored by Mass Mutual at The 2019 ESPYS presented by Capital One live Wednesday, July 10, at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

“After being medically retired from the Marine Corps due to my injuries sustained overseas, I have dedicated my life to serving others in a different way. To receive the Pat Tillman Award and to be associated with a true American hero is a tremendous honor,” said Ennis. “It has taken a village to get me to this point in my life, and I would not be where I am now without the amazing people surrounding me. To me, this is a symbol of community and what it means to pay it forward.”

As part of her efforts to inspire others, Ennis has walked 1,000 miles across Britain for a Walking With the Wounded charity event and in 2013 she competed in the Warrior Games where she took home three gold medals in swimming. In 2017, she decided she would set out to become the first female above-the-knee amputee to summit all seven of the world’s highest peaks and has since climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa, Carstensz in Indonesia, Mount Elbrus in Russia, and Aconcagua in Argentina. Her most recent attempt to climb Mount Everest took place in April and May of this year, and brought Ennis and her team within 200 meters of the finish line, before they turned back due to life threatening conditions. Ennis is also a Paralympic hopeful in snowboarding.

“Pat lived his life with passion and conviction, driving forward in the face of any obstacle that crossed his path,” says Marie Tillman, Board Chair and Co-founder of the Pat Tillman Foundation. “I see that same drive and courage in Kirstie as she continues to push the limits and achieve her best. We are proud to present the Tillman Award to Sgt. Kirstie Ennis for her service and leadership.”

The Pat Tillman Award for Service was established in 2014 to commemorate the former NFL player and U.S. Army Ranger’s legacy, and honor an individual with a strong connection to sports who has served others in a way that echoes the legacy of Tillman. Kirstie Ennis will be presented with the award at The 2019 ESPYS in conjunction with the Pat Tillman Foundation, a national leader in providing academic support and scholarships to veterans, active-duty service members and their spouses. Past honorees include U.S. Paralympic gold medal sled hockey player and Purple Heart recipient Josh Sweeney (2014), and former Notre Dame basketball player, Iraq war veteran and Purple Heart recipient Danielle Green (2015), U.S. Army Sgt. and Invictus Games gold medalist Elizabeth Marks (2016), and Purple Heart recipient and Invictus Games gold medalist Israel Del Toro (2017), and Navy-Marine Commendation Medal recipient, Sergeant Jake Wood (2018).

The ESPYS helps to raise awareness and funds for the V Foundation for Cancer Research, the charity founded by ESPN and the late basketball coach Jim Valvano at the first ESPYS back in 1993. ESPN has helped raise close to $97 million for the V Foundation over the past 26 years. Tickets are available for public purchase at AXS.com. The ESPYS are executive produced by Maura Mandt and co-produced by Maggievision Productions.

About The ESPYS

The ESPYS gather top celebrities from sports and entertainment to commemorate the past year in sports by recognizing major sports achievements, reliving unforgettable moments and saluting the leading performers and performances. The show recognizes achievements in categories such as “Best MLB Player,” “Best Team,” “Best Female Athlete” and “Best Upset” and inspiring human stories are showcased through three pillar awards: the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage, the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance and the Pat Tillman Award for Service. The ESPYS support ESPN’s ongoing commitment to the V Foundation for Cancer Research, launched by ESPN with the late Jim Valvano in 1993.

ABOUT THE PAT TILLMAN FOUNDATION

In 2002, Pat Tillman proudly put his NFL career with the Arizona Cardinals on hold to serve his country. Family and friends established the Pat Tillman Foundation following Pat’s death in April 2004 while serving with the 75th Ranger Regiment in Afghanistan. Created to honor Pat’s legacy of leadership and service, the Pat Tillman Foundation unites and empowers remarkable military veterans and spouses as the next generation of public and private sector leaders committed to service beyond self. For more information on the Pat Tillman Foundation and the impact of the Tillman Scholars, visit PatTillmanFoundation.org.

How Wharton’s EMBA Program Adds Value for Military Students

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Three uniformed U.S. soldiers standing outside Army helicopter

The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania helps students accelerate their careers, whether they are staying in the military, planning a future transition, or working in the private sector through its MBA Program for Executives.

The program delivers the “undiluted Wharton MBA to working professionals,” with programs in both Philadelphia and San Francisco that work around a full-time work schedule and offer many benefits for military and veteran students.

Application Fee Waiver and Financial Aid

As a small token of our appreciation, we waive the application fee for all U.S. military applicants. To request a waiver, contact the admissions team of the program to which you’re applying before submitting your application.

Also, if you qualify for all military financial aid programs, it is possible to bring your total out-of-pocket expenses for this program to less than $12,000. We’ve included some resources for additional information about financial aid below.

GI Bill

Both active duty service members and veterans are eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill. The GI Bill amount is $23,671.94 per year for the 2018–19 academic year. This amount generally increases by a small percentage every year so check the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website at gibill.va.gov for the most up-to-date information.

The VA defines the academic year as August 1–July 31. Because our program starts in May every year, our students qualify for three payments of up to $23,671.94 (up to $68,416), based on eligibility percentage as determined by the military.

Yellow Ribbon Program

In addition to the Post-9/11 GI Bill, veterans who are eligible for 100 percent of the GI Bill and retired at the start of the summer term can qualify for the Yellow Ribbon Program. Wharton has an unlimited number of Yellow Ribbon spots for the full-time and executive MBA Program. The Yellow Ribbon Program awards $12,500 per fall and spring semesters, for a total of $50,000.

Applying for the Yellow Ribbon Program is not difficult—once accepted, students submit their certificate of eligibility to the Student Financial Services Office (executivemba.wharton.upenn.edu/emba-tuition-financial-aid/).

Basic Allowance for Housing

To calculate your estimated benefits, enter your own personal information using the GI Bill Comparison Tool at va.gov/gi-bill-comparison-tool/.

Additional Financial Aid Resources

Military students may qualify for additional scholarships, including the FRA Education Foundation and AT&T Veterans. Wharton’s EMBA program also awards a few merit-based scholarships each year. These scholarships are based on the individual applicant and the applicant pool. Consideration is automatic, and awards are granted as part of the admissions offer.

Wharton’s Military Network

We recognize that our military applicants are faced with unique circumstances and we welcome the opportunity to assist you in any way possible. We have a very tight network of military students, and we would be happy to connect you up with any of them so that they can share their personal perspectives and experiences.

Wharton Veterans Club

The Wharton Veterans Club is committed to assisting transitioning service members and veterans who are interested in pursuing an MBA. There are more than 80 veterans and active military members in the club, and they take great pride in their military service and are extremely proud to be a part of the Wharton community.

They host Wharton MBA military visit days throughout the year, provide support and mentorship through the application process, and connect applicants with military alumni.

Wharton Stories

Rebecca Bennett

Test Pilot, U.S. Navy

EMBA, 2019, Wharton Philadelphia campus

Prior education: Cornell University, B.S., chemical engineering

Military experience: “I joined the Navy in college to be part of something bigger than myself and to Rebecca Bennett standing next to army helicopterserve my country. I’ve always done things that challenge me because I believe you grow when you go outside your comfort zone, so I chose to become a pilot and headed to flight school. I opted to fly helicopters because I was passionate about the helicopter missions, which often involve hurricane relief and search and rescue, and I wanted to fly with a crew. I did a few deployments around the world, and then I was selected and attended the U.S Naval Test Pilot School. Now, I work as a test pilot where my job is to help develop and test new technology and equipment for Navy helicopters before those products are deployed to helicopter units around the world.”

Getting an MBA: “When my commitment to the military is up in the summer of 2019, I plan to separate from the military and get into business. I believe companies have incredible opportunities to tackle some of the problems facing society today, and I want to be on the leading-edge of the technologies being developed to solve those problems. I want an MBA to learn how to leverage my military background and gain new business knowledge to transition into the private sector.”

Military students: “One of the great things about this program is that it brings people with all sorts of backgrounds together. Even so, sometimes I find there can be a stark divide between veterans and civilians – we speak a different language and it’s sometimes hard for each side to understand what the other does for their job. This program has helped me bridge that divide. It has also allowed me to better understand my opportunities in the private sector as well as explain how my military background adds value.”

Value of Wharton for military students: “The Wharton network is an incredible benefit. I’ve sent cold emails to alumni with an almost 100% response rate. Alumni are willing to get on the phone and talk about their jobs, which is something I didn’t expect when I came here. I’ve also learned a lot from my fellow classmates. And, of course, the academics are phenomenal. I am getting the business knowledge necessary to make a smooth transition to the private sector.”

Military benefits: “I used the application fee waiver for military students and the GI Bill.”

Chris Robinson

F/A-18 Instructor Pilot, U.S. Marine Corps

Position after graduation: Investment Banker, Goldman Sachs

EMBA, 2019, Wharton San Francisco campus

Prior education: Boston College, B.A., economics and political science

Chris Robinson standing outside with his familyMilitary experience: “I joined the Marines as an undergraduate student to serve something greater than myself. I served on two deployments, including one to the Western Pacific and one to the Middle East. More recently, I’ve served as an instructor pilot teaching newly winged aviators to fly the F/A-18. This year, I’m transitioning off active duty to the Reserves and will continue to serve as a flight instructor.”

Getting an MBA: “I knew I would be transitioning out of the military to the private sector and getting an MBA was a way to accelerate that transition. I wanted to gain high-level, relevant knowledge about different facets of business and learn alongside an experienced cohort from different industries. I needed a program for executives because as a full-time active duty officer with four kids, going back to school full-time was not an option. I explored some other EMBA programs, but they didn’t compare to Wharton.”

Military students: “Coming from the military, I wasn’t aware of all of the opportunities the private sector has to offer or the paths to those careers. This program has a dedicated career director, who also has military experience, who provides one-on-one career coaching and is a great resource for students wanting to make a transition. After graduation, I will be joining Goldman Sachs.” [Wharton EMBA career directors are Steve Hernandez in San Francisco and Dr. Dawn Graham in Philadelphia.]

Value of Wharton for military students: “Military students bring such intangible leadership qualities as having presence in a room and being able to cut through things quickly, which is valued in team settings. We also are good at time management. I’m always the guy who wants to begin meetings on time. On the other hand, we also tend to speak more bluntly. My peers have helped coach me about cultural norms in the private sector, which has served me well as I go through my transition process.”

Military benefits: “I used the application fee waiver for military students and the GI Bill. As I transition off active duty, I plan to use the Yellow Ribbon Program and the part of the GI Bill that provides a Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH). I also received some scholarship funds from Wharton.”

Marty Pendleton

Management Consulting Manager, Accenture

Previously U.S. Navy Surface Warfare Officer

EMBA, 2020, Wharton Philadelphia campus

Prior education: Vanderbilt University, B.S., communication studies

Military experience: “After college, I served in the U.S. Navy for five years because I wanted to giveMarty Pendleton standing outside in full dress uniform back and do something service oriented. After getting out of the military, I wanted to continue working to support our defense and intelligence communities. I did that through consulting and joined Accenture’s federal practice. I work with law enforcement, intelligence and defense agencies to improve technology and processes. My service to the country is continuing, but I have a broader impact in this role and it is very rewarding.”

Getting an MBA: “I wanted to continue learning about business, and sometimes you have to step away from your day-to-day and learn in a classroom surrounded by people doing different things. I learn a lot from my classmates and the professors – more than I could learn on the job.”

Military students: “We bring a unique perspective to the classroom because we have led teams, often under life and death circumstances. Those high stakes teach a person how to filter out the noise in decision-making and how to focus on what really matters. One critical factor is building and empowering a team you trust.”

Value of Wharton for military students: “Military people have great leadership experience that makes us good generalists, but we tend to come out of the service with knowledge gaps. While we know how to lead teams, we may not know how to read a balance sheet or build a marketing plan. Wharton helps us develop these skills, while also broadening our network outside of the military.”

Military benefits: “I used the application fee waiver for military students, the Yellow Ribbon Program, and the GI Bill.”

Craig Replogle

Manager, Strategic Account Operations, Nike and Navy SEAL Commander, U.S. Navy Reserve

Previously U.S. Navy SEAL

EMBA, 2015, Wharton San Francisco campus

Prior education: U.S. Naval Academy, B.S., ocean engineering

Craig Replogle in uniform outside kneeling on one knoee holding his son with his two other children on either sideMilitary experience: “I grew up watching Top Gun and went to the Naval Academy to be a fighter pilot, but eventually discovered the SEAL Teams. During my senior year, 9/11 occurred and that had a big impact on my trajectory. I was fortunate to earn an opportunity to enter the Navy SEAL selection and training program and even more fortunate to make it through the arduous program. I then went on to spend the next decade as a SEAL officer, deploying overseas six times. I transitioned off active duty in the Wharton EMBA program and continue to serve in the Navy Reserves while growing my new career at Nike.”

Getting an MBA: “Towards the end of my time on active duty, I decided I wanted to be home more for my wife and kids. I decided to take advantage of the GI Bill to get my MBA and help transition to the private sector. In the Navy, the things that mattered most to me were the amazing people I worked with, the impact of culture on an organization, and the ability to maintain an active lifestyle. At Wharton, I explored possible career paths with those factors in mind. Wharton EMBA Career Director Steve Hernandez coached me as I narrowed my search to various sports and outdoor companies. When I dove into the deep end to pursue a career at Nike, both the veterans’ and Wharton networks were instrumental in helping me land a role at the Swoosh.”

Military students: “We bring a different leadership experience having led teams in high-risk critical situations. As a result, we know that every midterm and final is just one piece of the entire puzzle. It’s important, but no one’s life is on the line. We have a unique perspective on the big picture, which can be helpful for our classmates, because we know the stakes are less in the classroom than they are on the battlefield.”

Value of Wharton for military students: “This program helps shore up any lack of business experience for military students. The knowledge, brand, and network from Wharton are priceless. Employers know you have a solid business foundation and understanding of the levers that are pivotal to a company. Just as important, you learn from and how to work with your classmates who come from a variety of backgrounds outside of the military. They are your first and most important network you’ll grow outside of the military.”

Military benefits: “I used the application fee waiver for military students and the GI Bill. In my second year, I used the Yellow Ribbon Program and Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH).”

Source: executivemba.wharton.upenn.edu

Navy Father, Daughter Enjoy Serving Together

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U.S. Navy father and daughter poese together smiling

By Navy Seaman Michael Prusiecki, USS Nimitz

A Navy father and daughter here say they enjoy their service together aboard the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz.

Navy Lt. Cmdr. Eric Alexander, a native of Stuttgart, Arkansas, enlisted in the Navy in 1996 as an aviation boatswain’s mate. He served at various commands and eventually reached the rank of chief petty officer before being commissioned through the limited duty officer program in 2007. Since February, he has been serving as the aircraft handling officer on the Nimitz.

Alexander’s daughter, Petty Officer 3rd Class Erica Alexander-Quow, enlisted in the Navy in June 2017 as an intelligence specialist. She has been serving on the Nimitz since January.

“We commute together and I get to mentor her a lot,” Alexander said of his daughter. “I train her on shipboard safety and being a better sailor. Her safety is my biggest concern.”

Serving alongside her father on the Nimitz is “pretty cool,” Alexander-Quow said.

“We have a great relationship, and it’s interesting to be able to work in the same place, even though we are in completely separate departments with different chains of command,” she said. “It’s nice to have a watchful eye in the sky—someone who is always looking out for me—even though I try not to involve him much because I don’t want to be seen as having an advantage. I try to keep it separate.”

Alexander-Quow said she joined the military due to the lessons learned from her father’s long and successful career in the Navy.

“Seeing his experience and the benefits from it, and also moving around to so many places, was a big inspiration to follow in his footsteps and serve,” she said.

Alexander-Quow said she would like to earn a commission, but for now she’s taking it day by day. “So we will see how my career plays out,” she added.

Both said they try to remain professional at the workplace.

“At work, it’s all business,” Alexander said. “She sees me and she says, ‘Sir.’”

“We’re good at maintaining that father-daughter relationship at home away from work,” Alexander-Quow said. “Our everyday commute gives us time to unwind and diffuse any problems so we don’t have to bring any negativity home.”

Source: defense.gov

Working With A New Canvas, Air Force Vet Confident, Excited About Transferring Skill Set

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Nick and MelissaMurray pose outside in their franchsie outfits

(CHATTANOOGA, Tennessee)—Nick Murray is transitioning from a military officer to a civilian and small-business owner.

But thanks to his experience and attitude, it has all worked like clockwork and with nary a worry, with the biggest benefactors being the clients of Murray’s CertaPro Painters franchise, which launched in 2018 and serves customers throughout the greater Chattanooga metropolitan area.

CertaPro Painters is America’s largest and most-referred painting company. “In an industry that typically lacks exceptional customer service and involves production management, it sounded like a great challenge to me,” said the four-year veteran of the United States Air Force.

The 28-year-old Murray performed contracting duties in the United Kingdom, Iceland and here at home during his Air Force career, purchasing commodities, services and construction while adhering to all federal regulations and initiatives. That discipline, Murray believes, gives him an edge in being a small-business owner with CertaPro Painters, whose best-in-class operational systems and procedures make it the most professional business model in the industry and its satisfied customers are the direct benefactors.

“Military experience has enhanced my ability to execute at a high level while providing a strong foundation for the contracting industry,” Murray said. Murray met his wife, Melissa, who assists in the business, when they were both in ROTC at the University of Kentucky. While the couple was stationed at Robins Air Force Base in Georgia for two years, they made a few visits to Chattanooga and liked what they saw, especially since it meant being closer to family. “We decided Chattanooga was where we wanted to start our family and our next chapter,” Murray said. “I was confident in my contracting abilities and enthusiastic about the opportunity, so with Melissa’s support, we decided to join the team and purchase the CertaPro franchise here in Chattanooga.”

Commercial and residential painting is an estimated $60 billion industry in the U.S. and Canada. CertaPro has been consistently ranked No. 1 by Entrepreneur magazine in its category and boasts a customer referral rate that exceeds 95 percent.

About CertaPro Painters
Founded in 1992, Audubon, Pennsylvania-based CertaPro Painters is the largest painting company in North America. With more than 350 independently owned and operated franchises worldwide, CertaPro provides a customer-driven painting experience for both residential and commercial properties that is unparalleled in the industry. The company’s stellar service and proven business system have made CertaPro North America’s most referred painting company. For more information, visit www.certapro.com

Seaman Apprentice Serves Aboard Versatile Warship Half A World Away

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seaman Aprrentice Chance Coogle poses in military uniform

By Lt. Jake Joy, Navy Office of Community Outreach

Seaman Apprentice Chance Coogle, a native of Huntington Beach, California, said serving in the Navy is a “family thing.” “I’m the seventh generation of Coogle to enlist, and none have retired – it’s a neat tradition,” he said.

“They were all in the Navy. My dad served in the Gulf War, my grandfather in Vietnam, my great-grandfather was a gunner’s mate in WWII, it goes on and on like that.”

Now, two years after taking his own oath, and half a world away at Fleet Activities Yokosuka, Coogle serves aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain, patrolling one of the world’s busiest maritime regions as part of the leading-edge of U.S. 7th Fleet.

“It’s cozy,” Coogle said. “Everything’s right where you need it to be, you’re not really going to get lost. It’s like a little town. I like it, you get to see everybody every day. Of all the ships to be on, I think this is a good one.”

Coogle, a 2017 graduate of Edison High School, is an operations specialist aboard the Yokosuka, Japan-based ship, one of several in its class forward-deployed to the region.

“I track air and surface contacts and can contact them over international air distress channels, it’s pretty important,” Coogle said. “If we identify them incorrectly, that aircraft is at higher risk of getting shot down … those times I get to do my job, I feel fulfilled.”

Coogle credits part of his success in the Navy to lessons learned in Huntington Beach.

“‘It is what it is,’ was a pretty big quote around the house and I certainly carried it into the Navy,” he said. “Biggest thing I’ve learned is how important family is … I haven’t seen them for just about as long as I’ve served, but I know I can still depend on them, which is really important.”

U.S. 7th Fleet spans more than 124 million square kilometers, stretching from the International Date Line to the India/Pakistan border; and from the Kuril Islands in the North to the Antarctic in the South. U.S. 7th Fleet’s area of operations encompasses 36 maritime countries and 50 percent of the world’s population with between 50-70 U.S. ships and submarines, 140 aircraft, and approximately 20,000 sailors.

“I’m meeting people of all walks of life, especially being close to Tokyo,” Coogle said. “I definitely think that being stationed in the 7th Fleet has given me a lot of opportunities I wouldn’t have had back home. Hanging out with the Japanese is cool, and the stories I’m going to be able to tell when I get back are going to be rich and full of excitement.”

With more than 50 percent of the world’s shipping tonnage and a third of the world’s crude oil passing through the region, the United States has historic and enduring interests in this part of the world. The Navy’s presence in Yokosuka is part of that long-standing commitment.

“The Navy is forward-deployed to provide security and strengthen relationships in a free and open Indo-Pacific. It’s not just the ships and aircraft that have shown up to prevent conflict and promote peace,” said Vice Adm. Phil Sawyer, commander, U.S. 7th Fleet. “It is, and will continue to be our people who define the role our Navy plays around the world. People who’ve made a choice, and have the will and strength of character to make a difference.”

Destroyers are warships that provide multi-mission offensive and defensive capabilities. They are 510 feet long and armed with tomahawk land-attack cruise missiles, Standard Missile-3 and newer variants of the SM missile family, advanced gun systems and close-in gun systems.

Destroyers are deployed globally and can operate independently or as part of carrier strike groups, surface action groups, or amphibious readiness groups. Their presence helps the Navy control the sea. Sea control is the precondition for everything else the Navy does. It cannot project power, secure the commons, deter aggression, or assure allies without the ability to control the seas when and where desired.

John S. McCain has anti-aircraft capability armed with long range missiles intended for air defense to counter the threat to friendly forces posed by manned aircraft, anti-ship, cruise and tactical ballistic missiles.

Serving in the Navy means Coogle is part of a world that is taking on new importance in America’s focus on rebuilding military readiness, strengthening alliances and reforming business practices in support of the National Defense Strategy.

A key element of the Navy the nation needs is tied to the fact that America is a maritime nation, and that the nation’s prosperity is tied to the ability to operate freely on the world’s oceans. More than 70 percent of the Earth’s surface is covered by water; 80 percent of the world’s population lives close to a coast; and 90 percent of all global trade by volume travels by sea.

“Our priorities center on people, capabilities and processes, and will be achieved by our focus on speed, value, results and partnerships,” said Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer. “Readiness, lethality and modernization are the requirements driving these priorities.”

There are many ways for sailors to earn distinction in their command, community, and career. Coogle is appreciative of the places he’s seen and explored, like climbing Mount Fuji and watching the sun rise off the coast of China.

“I’ve gotten to really find out about how big and expansive the world is outside of home. It’s pretty nice, I’m pretty proud of that actually,” said Coogle.

As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied upon assets, Coogle and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes contributing to the Navy the nation needs.

“As much of a mixed bag as service is, it’s more pros than cons,” he said. “I wouldn’t have been able to afford to go to college. I’m 20, living on the other side of the world, basically on my own. It teaches you how to be an adult, whether you’re ready for it or not.”

Source: navyoutreach.blogspot.com

Photo credit: Senior Chief Petty Officer Gary Ward

Tee It Up for the Troops Donates 20th E-Z-GO Vehicle to Fisher House Foundation to Assist Disabled Veterans and Their Families

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Tee it up for troops logo

A golf car is a nice amenity on the golf course, but for families of veterans and active duty service members who are being treated at Department of Defense (DOD) and Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Centers, golf cars are a valuable and needed mode of transportation.

With limited parking and specialized transportation needs, many veterans and their elderly family members are unable to make the journey around a VA hospital campus.

That’s why Tee It Up for the Troops, with their national headquarters in Burnsville, Minn., has partnered with Textron Specialized Vehicles Inc., a Textron Inc. (NYSE:TXT) company, manufacturer of E-Z-GO vehicles, to donate customized vehicles to Fisher House, a foundation that provides comfort homes where military and veteran families can stay free of charge. Tee It Up for the Troops has donated a “battalion” of E-Z-GO vehicles to Fisher House facilities nationwide, with the recent 20th new ride delivered to the VA Palo Alto Healthcare System in California.

For the last seven years, Tee It Up for the Troops and E-Z-GO, in partnership with E-Z-GO distributor Versatile Vehicles of Prior Lake, Minn., have delivered several vehicles a year to Fisher Houses across the nation. The first was delivered to the Augusta VA Medical Center in Georgia in 2012, with others reaching the East Coast’s Walter Reed Medical Center in Maryland, the West Coast’s Camp Pendleton in California, and midwestern Fisher Houses in Milwaukee, Wisc. and Minneapolis, Minn.

“Tee It Up for the Troops has been there for us and has provided a vehicle to every one of our houses on a VA property that has needed one,” said Brian Gawne, Vice President of Community Relations for Fisher House Foundation. “Parking and getting around on a VA campus is always a challenge, and some families are not mobile. Thanks to Tee It Up for the Troops and E-Z-GO, these cars are a godsend when families are facing a tough medical crisis.”

“Recently we had a veteran discharged from the hospital after kidney removal surgery and it would have been extremely painful for him to bend into a vehicle to get back to Fisher House,” said Jenny Hall, Manager of the Alaska Fisher House. “The golf car allowed him to easily slide in and out at a comfortable height with minimal pain.”

“It’s great teaming up with E-Z-GO and working together to make our heroes’ lives better,” said Tim Wegscheid, President & Executive Director for Tee It Up for the Troops. “I truly believe our veterans and their families are entitled to be taken care of, and donating these vehicles is just one way we do that.”

Tee It Up for the Troops has hosted 500 fundraising events in over 40 states over the last 15 years, allowing the non-profit organization to donate over $10 million to military service organizations that provide critically needed services to combat veterans and their families.

“Electric shuttles that are quiet and efficient can take a whole family or injured warfighter from a Fisher House around the campus to receive therapy or see a doctor,” said Brandon Haddock, Director, Communications at Textron Specialized Vehicles. “The vehicles can traverse facility paths, parking lots, and even into the entry of a VA hospital. It’s great to see how excited people are about the shuttles and to give the veterans something they really need.”

“These stretch electric shuttles, which can comfortably accommodate six passengers, are customized with many added features for the comfort and safety of veterans,” said Gaby Accad, owner of Versatile Vehicles, whose distributorship customizes many of the Fisher House vehicles. Additions include safety lights, turn signals, a rear seat that can convert to a flatbed to carry a wheelchair or other equipment, and a retractable windshield to block wind and rain.

Accad works with local companies to donate custom features, including red, white and blue premium seats embroidered with the Tee It Up for the Troops logo, decals that are applied to the custom-painted cars, and shipping of the cars at donated or reduced rates to their destination.

“What this country has provided to me, it’s the least I can do for our soldiers who put their lives on the line for us to enjoy our freedom and the things we cherish in this country,” Accad said.

Tee It Up for the Troops and E-Z-GO first learned of the need for a small, efficient vehicle to transport wounded warriors in 2011, when they shipped a vehicle to a military base in Afghanistan to help move soldiers to field hospitals and to get those recovering from injuries around the base. From there, the need to meet increased demands for transport of returning service members with disabilities and their families escalated stateside.

“This is just a continuation of our support for veterans who do incredible things for our country,” Wegscheid said of the vehicles.

About Tee It Up for The Troops

Tee It Up for the Troops, Inc, is a national 501(c)3 non-profit organization that serves U.S. military veterans and their families.  Based in Minnesota, Tee it Up for the Troops inspires communities across the country to organize golf events to raise funds for partnering veterans service organizations who deliver critically needed services to military families.  These locally-supported events greatly assist returning service members to successfully reintegrate into their communities.  Established in 2005, Tee It Up for the Troops has hosted over 475 events in more than 40 states and has donated over $10 million to more than 335 various organizations serving veterans across the country.  In addition, through their REUNION initiative, Tee It Up for the Troops has reunited more than 300 combat altered veterans who were separated due to battlefield injuries or changes in rehabilitation status.  Through these reunions, participating veterans enhance their transition process into productive and fulfilling civilian lifestyles. For more information visit: teeitupforthetroops.org.

About E-Z-GO
E-Z-GO is an iconic, world-renowned brand in golf cars and personal transportation vehicles. Products sold under the
E-Z-GO brand include RXV® and TXT® fleet golf cars, Freedom® RXV and Freedom TXT personal golf cars, E-Z-GO Express™ personal utility vehicles, and the 2Five® street-legal low-speed vehicle. Known for innovation in electric-vehicle technology, E-Z-GO’s newest offerings include the ELiTE series of lithium-ion powered golf cars and PTVs. Founded in 1954 in Augusta, Ga., E-Z-GO became part of Textron Inc. in 1960, and today operates as part of the company’s Textron Specialized Vehicles division.

About Textron Inc.

Textron Inc. is a multi-industry company that leverages its global network of aircraft, defense, industrial and finance businesses to provide customers with innovative solutions and services. Textron is known around the world for its powerful brands such as Bell, Cessna, Beechcraft, Hawker, Jacobsen, Kautex, Lycoming, E-Z-GO, Arctic Cat, Textron Systems, and TRU Simulation + Training. For more information visit: textron.com.

About Fisher House

Fisher House Foundation is best known for its network of 82 comfort homes where military and veterans’ families can stay at no cost while a loved one is receiving treatment.  These homes are located at major military and VA medical centers nationwide, and in Europe, close to the medical center or hospital it serves. Fisher Houses have up to 21 suites, with private bedrooms and baths.  Families share a common kitchen, laundry facilities, a warm dining room and an inviting living room.  Fisher House Foundation ensures that there is never a lodging fee.  Since inception, the program has saved military and veterans’ families an estimated $451 million in out of pocket costs for lodging and transportation. Fisher House Foundation also operates the Hero Miles Program, using donated frequent flyer miles to bring family members to the bedside of injured service members as well as the Hotels for Heroes program using donated hotel points to allow family members to stay at hotels near medical centers without charge. For more information visit: fisherhouse.org.

It’s Life or Death for a Puppy in the Middle East

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Bucky with soldier stationed in the Middle East

May is Military Appreciation Month.  What better way to wrap up the month, then by helping our heroes overseas? Morale can be tough to keep when you are a soldier stationed in the Middle East.

Each day brings challenges and often despair. For one soldier and his crew stationed in Kuwait, that all changed when one, tiny puppy entered their camp.

Before the tiny stray made his way into the life of 21-year-old SPC Dakota J. Campbell and his crewmembers, morale was at an all time low. Then one day, the soldiers witnessed a puppy run by their site, being chased by a larger dog. The men proceeded to scare off the dog, and the puppy scurried to hide and got his self stuck in a cement barrier.

As the soldiers saved the puppy from near death, it didn’t take long before they realized that the puppy actually saved them. They named this little guy Bucky and he lifted their spirits, gave them hope, and helped inspire them each day. With Bucky around, they felt a sense of home.

“We can only imagine the difficulty these soldiers in war torn areas face on a daily basis,” explains Robert Misseri of Paws of War. “The fact that this dog helped our heroes get through some of the darkest days in their life is testament to the abilities of a dog. We must try to get Bucky to the United States.  It is the least we can do for SPC Campbell and the crew.”

Now Campbell is heading back to the states, where he will be stationed in Fort Hood, Texas. Rather than leave Bucky in Kuwait, where his fate would be certain death as a street dog, he is reaching out to us all to get Bucky to America, where he can live his life in security and peace with SPC Campbell, and they can both have a genuine, true sense of home.

“Bucky may have saved us, but I can’t bear to leave him behind, it’s time for me to once again save him,” added Campbell. “I have one dog at home, which is like my only son, and I can’t wait for Bucky to meet him. It will be a dream come true for me to be able to bring Bucky to Texas.”

Bringing a dog back to America from the Middle East is no easy task, and it’s a costly process. Paws of War is supported solely by donations and has helped numerous soldiers to bring their rescued dogs back from the Middle East. To help make the mission possible, they are asking everyone to pitch in and thank this Army team for protecting our freedom by donating toward Bucky’s journey to the U.S. Every dollar makes a difference.  To learn more about Campbell and Bucky’s story and to make a donation, log online: pawsofwar.networkforgood.com/saving-bucky.

About Paws of War

Paws of War is a non-profit 501c3 charitable organization that provides assistance to military members and their pets, rescues and trains dogs to be service dogs, and provides therapy dogs to veterans. To learn more about Paws of War and the programs provided or make a donation visit its site at: http://pawsofwar.org.

Lowe’s announces new partnerships with military organizations

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Lowe's building sign with a flag in the background

In honor of Military Appreciation Month, Lowe’s is pleased to announce three partnerships allowing for deeper relationships with the military community nationwide.

Each partner, including the United Service Organizations (USO), American Veterans (AMVETS) and Operation FINALLY HOME, now connects military to Lowe’s resources from workforce training to affordable housing for veterans and more.

“Lowe’s commitment to the military is longstanding and partnerships with these organizations allow us to form stronger connections with the military community,” said Joe McFarland, U.S. Marines veteran and Lowe’s executive vice president of stores. “We look forward to working closely with each organization to serve the military community through programs focused on safe, affordable housing and transitioning military into dynamic careers.”

Partners and details include:

The USO is known as the Force Behind the Forces® and strengthens America’s military service members by keeping them connected to family, home and country throughout their service to the nation. Lowe’s national partnership with the USO will support military spouse programming and the USO’s Pathfinder® program, which offers a network of resources and personalized support throughout all aspects of transition during their military careers.

“The USO is honored to partner with Lowe’s to offer service members and military spouses interactive workshops and networking opportunities designed to help them land apprenticeships and jobs in the skilled trades,” said Lisa Anastasi, USO Chief Development and Marketing Officer. “Together, we will connect them to the training and support they need to thrive in these career fields while navigating the frequent transitions of military life.”

AMVETS is the nation’s most inclusive congressionally-chartered veterans service organization representing the interests of 20 million veterans.

Lowe’s partnership contributes scholarships and workforce training, helping veterans transition from military service to employment nationwide.

“With Lowe’s, we’re looking to close the gap and offer scholarships and programs that place the military in highly-trained positions,” shares Rege Riley, national commander at AMVETS. “Through this effort, we plan on reaching 3 million individuals across our military channels.”

Operation FINALLY HOME provides custom-built, mortgage-free homes and home modifications to wounded, ill and injured veterans and the widows of the fallen from all branches of the military. Lowe’s current partnership contributes home building and modification support to projects across the country.

“Lowe’s is an outstanding fit as we continue to bring builders, developers and volunteers together to help our heroes and their families,” said Rusty Carroll, executive director at Operation FINALLY HOME.

Continue on to Lowe’s Newsroom to read the complete article.

After Winning Medals In Afghanistan, Veteran Brings Number One Home Inspection Company To Pasadena, CA

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Spencer Velez poses in uniform) in a military vehicle

Spencer Velez knows how to use his expertise and skills. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps for 14 years. The now 35-year-old deployed to Afghanistan in 2011 as a part of Operation Enduring Freedom and was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal for superior performance of duties while serving in a direct combat service support role.

As if those achievements weren’t enough, Velez then completed graduate school at the University of Southern California (USC) earning a Master of Business for Veterans (MBV) degree in a program designed to leverage the management and leadership experience gained during military service.

While attending graduate school, he applied these skills to his role in Corporate Compliance with The Walt Disney Company. In that role, he ensured wherever Disney products were manufactured, the workers were provided a safe and inclusive environment.

In May, he added a Pillar To Post Home Inspectors® franchise to round out his business skills. Velez will serve homebuyers and sellers throughout Pasadena, South Pasadena, San Marino, Alhambra, Altadena, La Cañada Flintridge, Glendale, Burbank, Sierra Madre, Arcadia, Rosemead, Monterey Park, Los Angeles and surrounding areas.

Spencer Valez smiling in headshot
Spencer Valez, Pillar to Post Home Inspectors

The brand is a favorite among veterans such as Velez. Pillar To Post Home Inspectors is a member of VetFran, a program of the International Franchise Association that helps vets purchase franchises and it has achieved 5-star status in that program, the top ranking possible. In 2018, one-third of new Pillar To Post Home Inspectors franchisees were military vets. “Pillar to Post provides a service that brings people happiness and positively impacts the community by educating the client about the home – purchasing a home is a big and exciting step and we are a part of that journey,” said Velez. “I have great plans to grow the business to its maximum potential with multiple professional home inspectors and valuable services. I will be a leader built on a reputation of respect and hard work which I learned through my military service.”

Pillar To Post Home Inspectors, is the brand to which more than three million families have turned to for 25 years to be their trusted advisor when buying or selling a home. Consistently ranked as the top-rated home inspection company on Entrepreneur Magazine’s annual Franchise500®, Pillar To Post Home Inspectors is enjoying its 19th year in a row on that list.

A professional evaluation both inside and outside the home is at the core of Pillar To Post Home Inspectors’ service. Pillar To Post Home Inspectors input data and digital photos into a computerized report that is printed and presented on site. All information is provided to clients in a customized binder for easy reference, allowing homebuyers or sellers to make confident, informed decisions.

About Pillar To Post Home Inspectors®
Founded in 1994, Pillar To Post Home Inspectors is the largest home inspection company in North America with home offices in Toronto and Tampa. There are nearly 600 franchises located in 49 states and nine Canadian provinces. The company has been named as Best in Category in Entrepreneur Magazine’s Franchise500® ranking for 19 years in a row. Long-term plans include adding 500 to 600 new franchisees over the next five years. For further information, please visit pillartopostfranchise.com.