Veterans Day originated as Armistice Day. November 11th is the anniversary of the signing of the armistice which ended hostilities in World War I between Germany and the Allied Nations. Armistice Day was renamed Veterans day in 1954 and continues to be an annual celebration for those who have served the United States.
Reliant Funding is proud to have a number of employees who have served our armed forces prior to joining our team, we will be sharing some of their stories on our blog this month.
Garrett Ortega, Recruiter
Years Active: 6
Rank at Retirement: Logistic Specialist 3rd Class
What does being a veteran mean to you?
Being a veteran means being a part of a group that has sacrificed everything to ensure that we can keep living freely.
What inspired you to join the military?
I was inspired to join the military from my family’s long history of serving. My father is a Marine, and my Grandpa was a doctor in the Army. They are good role models in my life, and I knew that if I joined the military that it could open a lot of doors for me in the future.
What do you wish civilians knew about being in the military or about veterans?
Transitioning from military life to civilian life is not easy. On average, 22 veterans or active duty service members take their lives daily, and it should be a covered issue in discussion. There are many reasons why, from PTSD or not being able to transition back to civilian life. It worries me that there is not enough attention to people in the military and that we are seen as “invincible”. It seems like we are invisible when we take off the uniform and do not get the attention that is needed.
What was your most memorable experience during your service?
Being able to be a leader early in my career is an experience I will never forget and one for which I am grateful. It was also a humbling experience. When I started, I knew I wanted to be a leader that led by example. Over time, I realized that I still had to learn to do to find out what model was the correct milestone by which to guide others.
What do you apply from your military service to your life today?
The military taught me many things but to name a few would not do it justice. I believe the one value that became stronger because of the military is commitment. Being committed to positive change and trying to grow a little bit every day is what I am for as a result. It’s easy to get complacent in life, and it is essential to try new things and not rest on your morals in all facets from personal to business.
What advice do you have for servicemen and servicewomen transitioning back into civilian life?
Have a realistic next-step opportunity lined up before you get out. The transition was not easy for me, and I thought the title of Veteran would help carry me into the civilian workforce. Still, it didn’t as much as I thought it would. Make sure to continue to better yourself and improve your knowledge. Also, take advantage of every benefit the military offers.
Use the GI bill, get a degree or trade certificate and go to school with a purpose. Some veterans go to school without a degree or end goal in mind and regret it after the GI bill runs out. Lastly, if it is the right timing in your life, a VA Loan is a great resource to use when buying a house.