Veterans Day Graphic

Veteran's Day is a time to recognize our military veterans - those brave souls who selflessly decided to stand guard over our nation and ensure the blessings of liberty are always protected.

As we honor our veterans here at Goodwill, we decided to ask some of them about their military experience and how what they learned has shaped them, prepared them, and sustained them in their new civilian careers. Here's what they had to say.

Char Welmerink
Goodwill of Greater Washington Talent Acquisition Partner
US Army National Guard Member

"I served in the Army National Guard and working as a team is something the military taught me and still holds true to this day. No matter where you go, you can accomplish a lot more with a team on a mission."

Ramon Torres
Goodwill of Greater Washington Talent Acquisition Partner
US Navy Cryptologic Technician Interpretive First Class (CTI1)

The military taught me many valuable lessons. It taught me to embrace the diversity found in a team, whether cultural, ethnic, religious, etc. Diversity is where new, out-of-the-box ideas can be found. It also taught me one of the most practical lessons applicable to any workforce: adaptability.

"If you embrace the fact that change will come and approach it from a place of understanding and acceptance, hardly anything can surprise you."

Kendrick Roberson
Goodwill Production Assistant Manager
Sergeant, United States Marine Corps

I was a sergeant in the Marine Corps. Honor, courage and commitment are what we stand on and what I still today believe to be the embodiment of my values. Through the military, I learned how to work with all individuals from all walks of life. I understand that the differences of each individual matter none and unit cohesion is everything in order to effectively and efficiently reach mission readiness and accomplishment.

I worked as an Aviation Electrician Production Control Officer. I appreciate the stepping stones that were placed before me and realize now that with proper planning every mission, job or duty is but a simple task. Working now at Goodwill as a production assistant manager, I am able to utilize the tools from my past endeavors and put them to use in the environment in which I work today. Individuals under my charge will never be expected to do anything that I am not willing to do myself and communicate with them respectfully yet tactfully so that we can succeed as a Team.

"Through my corps, I have learned not to adjust to environments but be the niche in which all others should adjust to! OORAH! Or SEMPER FI! Always A MARINE!"

Ashley Keeks
Master Sergeant in the United States Air Force

She is an active-duty Master Sergeant in the United States Air Force and the wife of Dillon Keeks, an instructor at our Goodwill Excel Center Adult Charter High School. MSgt Keeks offers these words of wisdom from her military experience that she believes also apply to civilian life.

One thing I value in everyday life is one of our core values. That core value is "Service Before Self." In any situation, whether it be at work, home, eating out, or at the store; helping others makes such a big impact no matter where you are. It can be as simple as helping someone cross the street, who is struggling to do so, or even offering to hold the door for someone when you might be in a hurry. If you take the opportunity to stop and think of others, it allows you to not only improve yourself but also those around you. It improves your mood and builds character.

There may be a point in your life when you are asked to volunteer or told to do something. Though it may not be your favorite thing to do, forgetting yourself and remembering others, makes you feel good in the end. Maya Angelou once said, "At the end of the day people won't remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel." Service before self is a great way to make others feel great.

To Char Welmerink, CTI1 Torres, Sgt Roberson, and MSgt Keeks, thank you for sharing your thoughts with our readers. And to every military veteran, on this Veteran's Day, all of us at Goodwill of Greater Washington thank you for your service to our nation.