Volunteer Spotlight: Gary
“If I can assist a service member’s transition, help plan and establish reasonable expectations, I feel that I have helped service members transitioning into new careers more than they understand,” said veteran and Hire Heroes USA volunteer Gary Duff.
For individuals like Gary, compassion for the military community comes naturally. After navigating his own career transition when he left the Army, Gary recognized he had learned a lot and was eager to share the most helpful insights with other veterans. An internet search led him to Hire Heroes USA.
“I had just transitioned from a contract position as an instructor training soldiers into a cyber security role,” Gary explained. “I no longer had the same interaction with the military community. During my time as a civilian DoD instructor, I found that I enjoyed providing younger enlisted soldiers with insights and lessons learned during my military [career] and my experience transitioning to a civilian career. I wanted to continue that knowledge sharing.”
In his volunteer sessions with Hire Heroes clients, Gary focuses on offering a fresh perspective and practical advice. “I learn something new from each person that I speak to,” he said. “I take the information they have shared with me and try to apply it to future conversations I have with other clients.”
While each client’s journey to a meaningful career is unique, there are steps that can point veteran job-seekers in the right direction. If he had to distill it down to two words of advice, Gary would say network and research. “There are many career opportunities that a member of the military has not been exposed to yet,” he said. “I always take the approach of, ‘If I were to do it over, knowing what I know now, I would have taken these steps or taken this career path.’”
No matter your industry of interest, networking can help you connect to productive advice and potential opportunities. “Find a veterans employment group local to your area and get involved,” Gary advises. “Networking is a great opportunity to learn about other career paths that you may not have previously been exposed to, provides an opportunity to meet new people and opens the doors to possible employment through non-conventional means.” Even if you feel your options are limited within your community, organizations like Hire Heroes USA host virtual events so you can continue to grow professionally.
Wherever you are in your civilian job search, volunteers like Gary can help you plan for success. And if you’re a professional looking to give back, virtual volunteering is an impactful option. “I am always asking coworkers to get involved,” said Gary. “I feel that sharing experiences, providing professional guidance and assisting transitioning service members into a meaningful career is very rewarding. If I had known or had this service while I was transitioning out of the military, I would have made use of it and told all my peers as well.”
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.