Why did you join the military?

GARY: From the time I was 6, it was all I wanted to do.  I spent the summer between my junior and senior year convincing my parents to sign for me to join at 17, promising there could never be another war! I joined in September of 1988.


Why did you make the decision to get out?

GARY: After getting back from Iraq, I felt the fun was over.  Training seemed pointless after doing it for real and I figured I may as well get my life plan going.  Very soon thereafter, I realized how much I indeed missed it and joined the National Guard until 1999.


What was the hardest part about leaving the military?

GARY: Everything.  I still miss it today.  The simplicity, the honesty, the binary nature of every day.  The friendships, the high you feel after the suck.  There is nothing like it in the civilian world.


How did you decide your post-military career path?

GARY: I was told that I was a natural salesman and I liked it when I tried it.  I have always been in sales.


One piece of advice for Veterans planning on getting out? 

GARY:  The quicker you realize that people who have never served think about and approach the world completely different from you, the better off you will be.  It is not good or bad, it just is reality.


What do Veterans need to know?

GARY:  It can be hard to fit into a culture you find alien and that is what the civilian world is.  Some people spend years banging their heads against a wall trying to make the world more like the military, but it never will be.  When you first get out, everyone wants to be around you, buy you a beer and hear your stories.  But, that quickly fades and then you are just a regular guy/gal. Take the time to learn from everyone you meet, grow where you are planted and always watch for the opportunity to do what you love. 


Gary and his family live in the suburbs of Philadelphia.  He is a financial advisor and loves hunting, cooking, reading and being outdoors.  Fun Fact: He believes the greatest artist in the world is the professional butcher.


If you would like to learn more about Gary’s post-military career journey or connect with him directly, please e-mail [email protected]

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