Wisconsin, July 2021
“Thank you, Ryan Lonergan and OJRV, for helping me take the next step of my life of entering a new career path since being medically discharged from the U.S. Navy.
I had served nearly five years on active duty for the U.S. Navy (March 2013 – December 2017) when I sustained service-related injuries, which resulted in my medical discharge in December 2017. This was a very sudden, unexpected, and unwanted occurrence. I didn’t feel prepared to reenter the civilian world, and I wasn’t sure how the skills I obtained from my job in the Navy (QM, Quartermaster) would transfer into a civilian career.
From 2017-2018, I was newly discharged and unemployed, living with my parents while going through a divorce and going in and out of the VA two to three times a week for medical appointments. Being very overwhelmed with this transition in my life, I could only focus on recovering from my injuries and healing from personal matters. By 2019, I’d done enough self-discovery to know that I wanted to get into business within the auto/motorcycle industry. I recall doubting my military experience would have any worth for obtaining a business job, so I thought the only way I could obtain one was by getting a bachelor’s degree in business administration first. So in 2019, I enrolled in classes for the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Still not having been employed since my medical discharge, I focused on my schooling by being a full-time student.
I struggled with understanding any of my worth in the civilian workforce. I truly believed my military experience meant nothing and that I had to start from the bottom to get back into earning a living for myself. I stayed consistent in attending VA mental health appointments and group therapy sessions to help combat these struggling thoughts of mine. I can admit that as much as I knew I needed a career, I was terrified to get back into one. In one of my mental health appointments, I was told about OJRV—how it’s a program in which I’d be eligible for assistance in employment transitioning.
At first, I was embarrassed to reach out as at this point, I’d been discharged/unemployed for four years. I feared that I’d be seen as lazy or incapable, but Ryan from OJRV made me feel the complete opposite. I didn’t feel judged for asking for help at this point of my transition. Ryan also validated the one thing I feared I didn’t have—my worth. I addressed to him how I felt that my Navy job had nothing that would be worthy in a resume for a business marketing job. I sent him the resume I initially made, and he proved me wrong. He explained to me that the valuable skills I obtained through my service are extremely worthy and can actually be translated into civilian terms that civilian employers look for when hiring. When I received a draft of my new resume through OJRV, I was in shock of how significantly more appealing my resume looked. In convenient timing, a job opening for House of Harley-Davidson dealership in Milwaukee came up, and I submitted an application with my new resume put together with the assistance of Ryan. I got a call for an interview, did the interview, and a few days later got the call that I was chosen to be the new marketing and events coordinator at House of Harley-Davidson.
This position in the motorcycle industry was everything I wanted as my first civilian job since my service in the U.S. Navy. I’m in disbelief that I obtained this job while having 45 credits left to earn my bachelor’s in marketing – business administration. This experience helped me realize that my military experience has always been worthy and applicable and something I shouldn’t have been ashamed of.
Thank you again for helping me transition into this exciting new chapter of my life as a single, medically discharged female Navy veteran. I feel more at ease that I will be okay in providing for myself now and in the future.”