Heroes Among Us: John

When you meet U.S. Army Veteran John Angeles, a few things are very clear. He loves his family, he loves his country and he is proud of his education and career. As a first-generation American, he made the choice to enlist at 17 years old to improve his family’s lives as well as his own.

John while seving in the U.S. Army.

“By me doing this, not only was I willing to help my family, I was trying to help myself and at the same time build a sense of honor of serving this country that’s given me this opportunity,” John said.

John served in the U.S. Army from 1999 to 2007, completing deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan. When he left the military, he started a successful career in logistics and operations, but that abruptly changed in 2018 when he lost his job.

“I happened to lose my job, and during the same period of time, I ended up being divorced. It was a difficult time for me. I came down into a severe depression, didn’t know what to do, and that’s when my younger brother paid it forward and tried to help me get into cybersecurity,” John said.

Despite being an accomplished professional, John found himself in an unfamiliar and stressful position – starting over again. He accepted a role as a cybersecurity apprentice and worked to obtain his certifications to fully break into in a new field.

Through those challenges, John kept a positive attitude and took advantage of opportunities to advance his career. He discovered Hire Heroes USA because our partner, Institute for Veterans and Military Families, awarded him a scholarship to help him obtain his Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) certification.

“It was just difficult to have employers know what experiences I was bringing,” John said.
“From what they were seeing, ‘Oh this guy is an entry-level guy and he’s doesn’t have the experience required.’”

When John signed up for Hire Heroes USA’s free services, he and his dedicated Transition Specialist worked together to create a resume that effectively showcased his previous experience and applied it to a new industry. John made sure to use every benefit our program offered. He used his free subscription to Coursera courtesy of Hire Heroes USA to continue developing new skills. He also used our sample cover letters and learned interview tips from our team. 

John at his home in 2021.

“The biggest thing I appreciated about her, was that she made herself available,” John said. “That was instrumental that Linda provided that guidance.”

When John started to submit applications, it was clear that his Hire Heroes resume stood out from the rest.

“The phone started ringing. I was getting calls, I was getting interviews.”

In June 2021, COLSA hired John as a Cyber Security Test Engineer. This new position ensured stability for his family, as well as a fresh start on a new, exciting chapter in his life.

“I’m married, I have two beautiful daughters and I’m currently expecting my first baby boy.”

In fact, the program left such an impression that his wife is a current Hire Heroes USA client as she looks for a career in Human Resources.

“You have somebody in your corner. It feels that you have someone to rely on when it comes down to looking for a new job or possibly relocating somewhere.  Someone you can trust to provide that guidance for you.”

This Veterans Day, Hire Heroes USA is honoring the Heroes Among Us: the service members, veterans and military spouses who model service over self every day. This year, give the gift of empowerment and professional success to heroes like John.

Thanks to the SmileDirectClub Foundation, each donation’s impact will be tripled.