Staff share lessons learned in service

Raven Easterly, Feature Editor

By definition, a military veteran is a person who has served and is no longer serving in the armed forces and is commonly referring to those who have served in combat.
“I believe there is no greater honor in serving your country than being part of this military,” Benjamin Tuominen, campus monitor, said.
Veteran staff had a choice to make that would change the next few years of their life, and change the experiences they will hold for the rest of their lives. So when it came to choosing what branch to go into, there are many facors that can alter the decision.
“I wanted the branch that was the most challenging. I knew the Marine Corps was the toughest, smallest, and most selective. Their boot camp was the longest and every Marine goes through the school of infantry,” Ryan Wilhelmi, FND physics teacher, said.
Family can have a great impact so when their family encourages them, it boosts their confidence in the decision.
“My father is a 20-year veteran of the U.S. Army and when asking which branch I should enter, he told me the Air Force; So I followed his advice,” Tuominen said.
Every branch of the military teaches its own lessons, each with its own way. Regardless of what the lesson is, the memory stays with the veteran for the rest of their lives.
“The Marine Corps taught me more about teaching than my college institution. The Marine Corps teaches you that you are so much more capable than you think you are. My experiences lead me to have high standards for my students,” Wilhelmi said.
The experiences the staff gained has a large impact on how they teach students, creating a domino effect of the lessons learned from each experience.
“I have had mostly positive experiences. I think kids expect it and many like the challenge of being held to higher standards,” Wilhelmi said.
While the experiences have a large impact on students, they also have an impact on the friendships before and after entering the military.
“I used to have more friends before I joined the Marine Corps. However, while I was in boot camp, I learned how precious time really is,” Wilhelmi said.
Students can send care packages to those who are currently serving, and those who take part in sending care packages have found it to be enjoyable.
“The students bring the names, and they’re very excited to send a family member or friend a care package,” Chari Rahn, secretary, said.
The care packages can give those currently serving a look at what current civilian life includes and show that there are people who care about them.
“Civilian life is very different from military life, but both can teach you ways to prepare for the other. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without growing up in the military and being part of it myself,” Tuominen said.
The staff found serving in the military to be a good experience and they support anyone’s decision to go into the military.
“If you’re not sure about college or a trade, think strongly about the military. I believe it’s a great place for someone to learn responsibility and sacrifice. Not only do you learn skills for the civilian workplace, but the GI bill is a great way to pay for college and come out debt free,” Tuominen said.