I was 17 when 9/11 happened, and I had to receive parental consent to join the Army National Guard. I was inspired to join by my grandfather. He was a World War II veteran and served in the U.S. Pacific fleet in the Navy. He was at Pearl Harbor and part of the occupying force in Japan. He was the kind of man who would look a person in the eye, shake their hand, do what they said they were going to do—that was from his military service, and I admired that about him.
I joined the National Guard in June 2002, and once I graduated from high school in 2003, I went to basic training. I was a 63 Sierra, which is a large-wheeled vehicle mechanic. I joined the 1-128th Infantry out of Eau Claire, Wisconsin, and was deployed twice, from 2004 to 2005 and 2009 to 2010.
Between deployments, I took firefighting courses and joined the Military Funeral Honors Program for the Wisconsin Army National Guard. When I returned stateside after 2010, I decided I wanted to use my Montgomery GI Bill to get a degree from Trinity International University and join the corporate world. A few years later, I ended up meeting a Walgreens team member at a Trinity alumni event, and she got me a job in May 2016.
Fast forward to today, I have been with Walgreens for almost seven years. I work as a senior analyst, program setup and maintenance, which means I work with hospitals, clinics and health centers to set them up with Walgreens services regarding the federal discount drug program. The majority of my day is spent on client calls, sorting through reports for insights on how to help a client’s program, and on internal calls related to improving systems and finding resolutions for challenging case studies. The best part is the people. While I’m in the platform setup stage, I get to know the clients over several months or sometimes years. I love helping people and knowing that the discount drug program I help implement is used for patients throughout the U.S.
In a typical day, I wake up at 6 a.m. and do my daily Bible devotionals before making breakfast. Honestly, God gets all the credit. I survived Iraq twice, which put my faith to the test, but I am still alive, and I credit Him for pulling me through many difficult and life-threatening scenarios. He has granted my wife and I many things we’ve desired: a family, children, a job that supports our lifestyle. My wife is a saint and home schools our 8-, 5- and 3-year-olds, and cares for our 18-month-old.
I start work between 7-7:30 a.m. I am spoiled to work from home often, and my kids now know that when daddy has his headset on, there’s no talking to daddy. I can enjoy lunch with my family if they’re home and schedules align. I aim to end my day between 3:30-5 p.m. It depends on when I get started and what my workload is—the department I work within has quarterly federal reporting periods and those days can be long.
In the evenings, I check in with my wife and kids about their days. We take walks and play outside and sometimes I go on a run. I ran in high school, the Army and in college, and I try to get in two to three runs a week. Once the kids are in bed, my wife and I will try and watch a show on TV before we get to sleep by 9 p.m.
It’s brought a lot back because we speak a common language. There’s a lot of branch of service jokes. The most rewarding part of joining has been service to others. We’ll send information to people on how to get care through the VA or other programs if they have someone in their family they need to care for. It’s not just veterans. It’s helping all those who have any sort of affiliation. And you don’t have to be a veteran to join. That’s the biggest plug. It’s for everyone.