"Outside the Comfort Zone"
After two years of college, I decided to see what would happen if I stopped living inside my comfort zone. What would life be like if I demanded excellence from myself in everything I set out to do?
In 2007 I joined the USMC serving as an infantry rifleman and squad leader. I deployed twice with my battalion, first with the 31st MEU and then in 2010 Helmand Province, Afghanistan.
While in the Marines, I helped implement new counter insurgency techniques and procedures that resulted in vastly reduced levels of violence and increased levels of cooperation between the local populace and security forces.
Upon leaving the Marines, I decided to finish school and position myself to enter the modern business world. To this end, I chose to minor in Finance and study Mandarin Chinese. I enjoyed finding parallels and applications for my military experience through a diverse course load that included subjects such as risk management, investments, and managerial finance.
After graduation, I felt the imperative, once again, to expand the margins of my experience. In 2014 I became part of the Alpha Class of Fellows at the Mission Continues. As fellows, we are tasked with becoming citizen leaders in our communities. In a sense, carrying on the legacy we began with our service in the military.
While serving my fellowship with Inspiration Corporation I worked to find ways to target existing programs to the local veteran population, identify and overcome barriers to veteran participation, as well as build up a network of support for those veterans currently outside mainstream support networks.
As a platoon leader of Chicago's Second Service Platoon I help coordinate service projects alongside fellow veterans within our communities. We have already organized and executed three service projects in the Chicagoland area. And, we are just getting started.