Before and After SSV: One Veteran’s Journey to a Job He Loves

Spencer Story

Like so many of the Veterans who come to SSV, Spencer knew the type of job he wanted; he just wasn’t sure about how to get hired.

After high school, Spencer earned a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Business Administration. Soon after, he enlisted with the US Navy and spent the next five years as a corpsman stationed with the Marines.

Five years of fast-paced and ever-changing work as a corpsman left Spencer wondering what he would do with his business administration degree as a civilian. He loves the outdoors and knew he would be happiest working in the woods.

When he began looking for work, he realized that many outdoor jobs that interested him required a degree in forestry, agriculture or environmental science. He began applying but wasn’t getting calls for interviews.

That’s when he picked up the phone and called SSV.

Jaymie and Spencer meet to talk about job opportunities

Jaymie and Spencer meet to talk about job opportunities

Spencer spoke with Jaymie, an SSV counselor who helps Veterans all over the country look for work. During their first session, Jaymie talked with Spencer about his skill set, his interests and the type of work he found most fulfilling.

She mentioned a program she thought might help Spencer find the type of outdoor job he was looking for. Little did she know it would change the trajectory of his future.

The Montana Conservation Corps has a 12-week field-based program for Veterans. They work in small groups to complete conservation projects on federal lands. Each veteran earns a stipend and an education award, while building skills and experience in natural resources management. By the end of the program, Corps members are qualified as entry-level firefighters.

Spencer jumped at the opportunity and never looked back. He completed the rigorous training program and worked with his team to fight the wildfires that have recently plagued Montana and other western US states.

Spencer in Montana with other Veterans in the MCC program

Spencer in Montana with other Veterans in the MCC program

Jaymie recently checked in with Spencer to see how he was doing.

Here’s an excerpt from the email he sent back to Jaymie:

 “… MCC [Montana Conservation Corps] took us all over Montana doing project work for the National park and forest service and it was a blast … It's been a lot of work but very rewarding and I have lots of contacts and friends. Things are going very well.”

Generous contributions from the Call of Duty Endowment (CODE) and support from the local community are what make stories like Spencer’s possible. You can help too! If you’d like to make a difference in the life of a Veteran, click the red “donate” button to make a donation to Still Serving Veterans today.