US VALOR is about humanity and providing respect and hope to those veterans that made great sacrifices to the US. People may have heard of or know of a military veteran who experienced a difficult time adjusting into society following their service, or a veteran that became disabled, or someone killed in action during their tour of duty. Without a doubt these veterans and their families experience mental and physical pain, isolation, and eventually spiral into a depressive mental state. US VALOR provides hope, and a pathway, for their survival and general well-being in the unfriendly and often unthankful world surrounding them.
Veteran's Transition Stories
Mr. Kelly C. Kendall, MBA
President and Executive Director
I left active duty from the Marine Corps in 1996. I left after three years due to medical problems. It has been 23 years since then, and yet I still can remember the experience vividly. Coming from the structure, and experience of the Marines, especially infantry, the most typical options were Police/Fire. Due to my health, those, and anything like them, were not an option. I was 25 years old. My wife was pregnant. I had to find work. It was a terrible struggle. Every interview seemed the same. “But you don’t have any experience doing X job for the last few years.” It was hard to hold back the anger and frustration. I have led Marines. I earned a meritorious promotion to Corporal. I was smart, driven, confident, and ready to be a manager. It seemed the most obvious role. But I had no luck there.
So, what did I finally land on? First, it was a temp job at a new Macy’s opening at a new mall. I was stocking and setting out clothing in the men’s section. That lasted for about a month. In that time, I kept interviewing. I was offered a salesperson position at a jewelry store in a mall. I had no desire to be in that industry. Eventually, after discovering, talking too, and consistently hounding the Operation’s Manager at a new CompUSA store, I was hired to be essentially a customer service rep in the business department. It didn’t take long for my work ethic and abilities to shine, and I was moved into a full business sales role, which I excelled at. Overall, it took about 3 months to land my first legitimate full-time job, after getting out. It paid near minimum wage, if not much more.
It was often humiliating, frustrating, aggravating, and infuriating. I recall thinking that none of these people have any understanding of what we went through in the military. I had no doubt that I could do any job. I just needed a chance. I needed someone willing to disregard my lack of “experience” on my resume, and see my skills, knowledge, abilities, and work ethic. That did not happen. I nearly had to beg for a job.