Staff Spotlight: Sidney


Transition Specialist | Hire Heroes USA Serving Spouses Program

“My favorite part about being a Transition Specialist is the individualized relationships and encouragement that I get to be a part of every single day.”

Sidney has always had a passion for serving her community. In college, she worked with the local homeless population to find work and assisted at-risk children and families. “While this was incredibly important and impactful work,” Sidney said, “I felt I needed to advocate for my tribe.” 

As the wife of a United States Marine, Sidney understands the challenges military spouses face, especially when it comes to building and maintaining a career. In 2018, Sidney joined the Hire Heroes team as a Transition Specialist for the Serving Spouses Program. 

Hire Heroes Transition Specialist Sidney

Her favorite part of the job? Working one-on-one with fellow spouses and providing encouragement. “I love getting to connect with someone who is right there on the edge of throwing in the towel on his or her search. I love helping them to see what they are capable of. Using my outside perspective on their skills and knowledge of the job market, I love giving them tips and tricks to find a job that makes them enjoy their Mondays, too.” 

Sidney’s passion and experience have empowered over 350 military spouses and veterans to find meaningful employment. Sidney is reminded daily of the incredible impact a donation makes.“You can see the individualized impact that your dollar had to help a real, living, empowered person find employment that created security and stability for a military family.” To learn more about our programs, and the Transition Specialist role, click here.

Congratulations, Sanford Health!

Congratulations, Sanford Health!

Hire Heroes USA’s employment Diamond Partner Sanford Health is recognized as one of 15 recipients of the 2020 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award! The SECDEF Employer Support Freedom Award is the highest U.S. government award honor to an employer for their support of National Guard and Reserve employees. The 2020 recipients were selected from 2,623 nominations received from Guardsmen and Reservists highlighting how their civilian employers went far beyond what the federal law requires to support them.

Not only was Sanford Health recognized as a recipient of the Employer Support Freedom Award, they were also ranked #42 by Military Times in their 2020 survey for “Best for Vets: Employers” and they were designated a 2021 Military Friendly® Employer. The ranking determination for the “Best for Vets” comes from a comprehensive survey of the country’s best employers and organizations with military-connected employment programs, benefits and support efforts. Check out Military Times scoring of Sanford Health. The designation is in recognition of Sanford Health’s creation of a true and measured economic opportunity for veterans. Only a select group of the Nation’s employers receive this designation

Sanford Health continues to go above and beyond to support veterans, service members and their families, whether they are patients or employees of Sanford Health. Want to learn more about what all Sandford does?

  • Exceptional Care for Patients:
    • Sanford Veterans Clubs: Sanford Health’s medical centers in Fargo, North Dakota, and Sioux Falls, South Dakota, welcome patients with military experience. Sanford’s Veterans Clubs are private, peaceful places with coffee, computer access and lounge areas featuring game tables and TV. Learn more about these amenities.
    • Veteran Ambassador Program: Sanford Health actively seeks out volunteers with a military background for the Veteran Ambassador Program. These volunteers visit veteran patients to help make them feel at home during their hospital stays. Learn more about this program.
    • Veteran Hotline: The Sanford Veteran Information Hotline provides veterans with a single point of contact for questions. Call (800) 949-1848 to reach the hotline.
    • Sanford Chip: Veterans are eligible to take the Sanford Chip DNA test for free. Learn how genetic testing benefits veterans’ health.

  • Opportunities for Veteran Employees:
    • Continuation of Benefits: Servicemen and servicewomen can continue their employment benefits during qualified military deployments.
    • Differential Pay Policy: Sanford Health employees who are members of the National Guard or Army Reserve receive supplemental compensation during qualified military deployments of up to 12 months.
    • Education Scholarships: Veterans or military service members are eligible to apply for a $5,000 scholarship from Sanford Health.
    • Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR): Sanford Health CEO and President Kelby Krabbenhoft signed a statement pledging to support the military services of employees and advocate for employee participation in the military.
    • Remembering Everyone Deployed (R.E.D): All employees are encouraged to show their support and gratitude for deployed service members by wearing red shirts on Fridays.
    • Veteran of the Year Award: Each year, Sanford Health recognizes a veteran employee for the work he or she does to influence the lives of others. This award encompasses all Sanford Health locations and regions.
    • Partners for Youth Success (PaYS): Sanford Health partners with the United States Army to guarantee young military members an interview and possible employment after their military service.
  • Community Support for Veterans, Military Members, and their families:
    Sanford Health works with a variety of organizations to support military families.
    • Partnerships: American Legion, Disabled American Veterans, Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, Hire Heroes USA, Military Officers Association of America, Order of the Purple Heart, Paralyzed Veterans of America, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Warriors Never Give Up
    • Sponsorships: Legends for Kids—Folds of Honor, Sanford International—Veterans VIP Tent, South Dakota Veterans Cemetery, USS South Dakota Commissioning Ceremony, Wings of Valor

Interested in joining Sanford’s team of passionate professionals? Check out their great career opportunities!


Volunteer Spotlight: Ryan

Volunteer Spotlight: Ryan

When transitioning from the military to civilian employment, finding success isn’t only about finding a new career. As a former Hire Heroes USA client, Ryan Groves knows this firsthand, and it’s why he devotes time to empowering other military families by volunteering with Hire Heroes USA. When Ryan made his transition to civilian employment after more than 22 years of service with the U.S. Army, he encountered unexpected challenges. It’s something he mentions in his conversations with veterans and military spouses. 

Hire Heroes USA Volunteer Ryan Groves

“It’s more than a LinkedIn or resume review for me. Oftentimes I share information on taxes, benefits in narrowing down your choices to live, life goals, and a range of other topics,” Ryan said.

His compassion is one of many reasons why Ryan is a valuable resource to our clients, having spent more than 21 hours mentoring service members, veterans and military spouses since April. He also provides a helpful perspective to service members, veterans and spouses who are considering jobs in the federal sector. Ryan continued serving others following his military service, working with Americorps and FEMA as a unit leader.

“I decided to volunteer for [Hire Heroes USA] once I had a firm grasp on the Federal Hiring Preference,” Ryan explained. “This allowed me to help others avoid the mistakes I made along the way and to educate service members and their families on the benefits associated with federal employment.”

Ryan connects with each of the veterans and spouses he talks to and remains invested in their professional journey after their conversations.

“The most rewarding aspect of the process is helping others see their full potential, sharing tips and tricks, providing avenues to employment, and being a resource to confide in,” Ryan said.

Volunteers like Ryan make success after service a reality. If you would like to make a difference in the lives of veterans and military spouses, please click here to learn more about volunteering with Hire Heroes USA.

Success as an Entrepreneur: Andy Hallon

Success as an Entrepreneur: Andy Hallon

Audenne Valdez
Latest posts by Audenne Valdez (see all)

As a Transition Specialist with Hire Heroes USA, it’s my job to help transitioning service members, veterans and military spouses find meaningful careers and empower their success. But success comes in different forms. For one person,  success could mean having a full-time job with benefits. While others might consider being the CEO, flexibility with family, travel, or becoming your own boss as signs of success.

Hire Heroes USA Client Andy Hallon

For Hire Heroes USA client Andrew “Andy” Hallon, success came from living his dream as an entrepreneur. However, it took some time to figure that out. 

He began his military career in the United States Air Force in Security Forces for 15 years. He deployed seven times and became a Wounded Warrior Alumni in 2013. He also had a hobby on the side, which turned into a profitable venture.  He started reselling shoes in 2015. He started by selling three pairs, the three became eight and then there were dozens after that. The side hustle eventually grew into a licensed business, and RaqND’s Kicks LLC was born in 2017. 

Andy started his business without outside funding or support. Every dollar came from his personal savings, but building a business by his bootstraps took a toll. He had to put his business on hold while he dealt with a divorce, and he joined the Air National Guard in 2018.

When Andy came to Hire Heroes USA and Mission43, he wasn’t sure if he should continue with his business.  After our conversations and guidance, he decided he couldn’t give up on his dream of owning his own business. To set a good example for his two daughters, he committed to stick with reselling shoes.

Andy restarted his business in 2019, launching ND’s Kicks LLC. In that first year, ND’s Kicks experienced tremendous growth. When taking part in the 2019 Idaho Sneaker Exchange, Andy was able to record $56,000 in sales in a single day. He was also invited to take part in the world’s premier sneaker show, Sneaker Con. ND’s Kicks also experienced dramatic growth on the marketing side. Andy hired his sister as a contract brand & engagement manager with the goal to grow the brand’s social media presence. With 900 followers on Instagram in March 2019, they wanted to reach 1,500 followers in four months. By September 2019, their account had more than 10,000. That growth led to other companies expressing interest in collaborations with him. In less than one year, Andy achieved all of the major goals in his five-year plan.

In 2020, he hired his first full-time employee and ND’s Kicks became the first sneaker consignment store to contract with the Exchange, a retail megastore that offers goods to soldiers, airmen, and their families around the world.  While the COVID-19 pandemic forced disruptions to in-person business, the online store is still up and running. In addition to running ND’s Kicks, Andy is now activated on a 6-month military backfill for Security Forces while studying at Columbia Southern University working on his Bachelors in Business Administration.

Personally, it has been rewarding to watch Andy achieve his version of success firsthand. Congratulations to Andy, and we all wish him good luck in the future!

ND’s Kicks LLC is a consignment store for Sneakers and Streetwear; buy, sell, and trade lightly used and new products and limited-edition releases. Andy’s passion is to bring the Streetwear and Hypebeast cultures to the ever-growing state of Idaho and to educate and influence fellow entrepreneurs and youth.

Top Jobs and Training Partners- September 2020

Top Jobs & Training Programs for September 2020

Every month, Hire Heroes USA selects several job openings from our job board to highlight. These job openings are posted by partnered employers who are looking to hire veteran and military spouse talent. To view the list of top jobs, our featured employer this month, FLIR Systems, Inc, and a few training program partners of Hire Heroes USA, please view the document below.