Question: Can you tell us a little bit about what motivated you to join the USMC and your time in service?
Answer: My motivation for wanting to join the Military was sparked at a young age by my grandfather who served during WWII. Seeing his photos and medals inspired me to serve my country so shortly after I entered my junior year of high school, I started to seek out more information. One evening I decided to go to the recruiting station and talk with a recruiter. As I entered the building, all of the offices were closed except for one, the Marines. As I was getting ready to leave, a Marine came to the door and greeted me and it was from that moment I was sold on becoming a United States Marine.
Question: Have you had any particular challenges or difficulties transitioning from military to civilian life?
Answer: Not really. I’ve been very fortunate where others have not. I still serve in the Reserves and work closely with organizations that assist veterans in their transition to civilian life.
Question: What are some of the life lessons you learned during your time in the USMC?
Answer: The Marine Corps has taught me the value of hard work and dedication. To always give one hundred percent and not to expect anything to be given to you. If you want something bad enough, you make it happen through hard work. You must dedicate yourself to the mission or task at hand until you have achieved your goal. Nothing replaces hard work!
Question: How did you begin working with K9’s and why? What are you currently doing in this area?
Answer: My passion for “working K9’s” was sparked in 2004 during my tour overseas. I worked closely with Military and Contractor Working Dog teams and was very impressed at their capabilities and the working relationships between handler and K9. Shortly after my return in 2005, I began reading books, attending seminars and talking to trainers to learn more about dogs, their behavior, training and handling from household pets to working dogs. Once I had a solid foundation and understanding, I sought to dive further into the working dog world and learn the role of a helper or decoy to further expand my knowledge and skills. More currently, I help in the training and development of working and sport K9’s, service dogs and pets.
Question:Can you share with us how you have previously and are currently using our HEL-STAR Lights?
Answer: Depending on one’s mission or purpose, having the proper lighting is extremely important to achieve success. I was seeking a lighting system that I could use in the execution of my military duties, as well as off duty, and with my K9’s when training or just out at night. I needed a light that was easy to use, low profile, durable, versatile, and most importantly, bright. After seeing the HEL-STAR lights, I immediately knew I had to give them a try. I’ve used them on backpacks, harnesses, and helmets when out in the field. I use them on my K9’s collars, and harnesses when training at night. I’ve also used them as a standalone unit to mark an area. They have exceeded my expectations and performed flawlessly.
Question: What are some of your short-term & long-term career or life goals?
Answer: To finish out my Military career, continue to enhance my skills as a K9 handler/helper/trainer, and possibly start my own business.
Question: To date what has been your biggest life-changing event and in what ways has that influenced you?
Answer: My first tour overseas. It put much into perspective for me and gave me a new appreciation for the things many people take for granted.
Question: Who are some of the leaders you admire and why?
Answer: Retired General James Mattis. He led by example, was confident, and inspired those around him.
Question: What advice would you give to others considering a career of service in the U.S military?
Answer: Do it. Make the best of it while you are in no matter if you do 4 or 20 because you will gain valuable life experience, make new friends and many great memories.
Question: What are the three things you couldn’t live without?
Answer: I definitely couldn’t live without my Family, Pizza, and Dogs.
Question: What inspires you?
Answer: I believe that inspiration can be drawn from anywhere. Most of my inspiration comes from my family friends and music. But inspiration is everywhere, you just have to look for it.
Question: If you had to choose a motto that describes you, what would it be?
Answer: As a U. S. Marine, our Motto is “Semper Fidelis” (Always Faithful), which I hold near and dear to my heart. Over the years, I have adopted another motto and that is “Ductus Exemplo” (Leader by Example). Photo Credit: Aaron Chudosky