RSM Finds a New Path with Help from OWF

Adam Grimm

Internships give you the opportunity to test out a potential career field, Operation Warfighter (OWF) allows Recovering Service Members the opportunity to intern with over 200 federal agencies. U.S. Air Force Technical Sergeant Adam Grimm utilized this program, and with the help of his OWF Coordinator, Sandra Ambotaite, interned at Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) and VA Hawaii.

In 2018, Adam was introduced to the Air Force Wounded Warrior (AFW2) program after being flagged for Medical Evaluation Board (MEB) review. During this time, Adam’s Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) was Explosive Ordnance Disposal. He was moved from his primary specialty and was in a mobility training program that wasn’t utilizing him to his best abilities. Adam has heard about the OWF program and knew that it could help him find a purpose again. After being accepted into the program, Sandra and Adam began searching for agencies that could help him find a new career and sense of purpose.

After several months of looking for suitable positions, DPAA expressed needing help in their travel office. The DPAA is an agency within the Department of Defense whose mission is to recover our military to their families and the nation. Adam has had previous missions with DPAA in the past as a bomb tech, and therefore sincerely appreciated their mission. During his 6-month internship, Adam had the opportunity to work with military and civilian personnel, helped process DTS orders and vouchers, and learned the importance of meeting deadlines. “For an agency that has a 100+ mission que at any time, falling behind can affect real world missions. I was happy to help their mission,” Adam stated.

Unfortunately, the MEB two-year mark was quickly approaching. With no official job offer from DPAA and the office shutting down due to COVID-19, Adam reached out to his OWF coordinator, Sandra Ambotaite, to find a new internship opportunity, preferably in the medical field. During this time, Adam started at a local college, working on pre-requisites for nursing. “I had been thinking about going into a medical career after service and was hoping to work at the VA clinic on Oahu,” Adam stated.

Sandra was able to make that possible, due to COVID-19 the VA was happy for extra assistance. During Adam’s time at the VA, he helped with the administrative duties while also having the opportunity to shadow many medical offices at the VA clinic and the attached Army hospital. Adam shared that his experience there was a great opportunity to see the true side of a new world, the experience allowed Adam to see that maybe nursing wasn’t the right fit for him. “I switched my college path to a master’s in social work to start a private counseling practice. I’m on track to graduate in four years and have my own practice in six,” Adam shares.

Opportunities provided through AFW2 and OWF allowed Adam Grimm to become more comfortable in his future and career choices. Adam shared, “The time out of uniform and in more supportive roles was a huge help to foster my mental transition. In addition, I was able to help other’s missions and explore an entire, very complicated, career path and decide the best true fit for me.”