By Gabby Bonilla
Warrior Care’s Operation Warfighter (OWF) provides eligible recovering Service Members with an opportunity to intern at a variety of places, while Warrior Care’s Education and Employment Initiative (E2I) helps RSMs identify their skills and match them with education and career opportunities that will help them with a successful transition into civilian life. Ned Hall and Amy Marohl are the Midwest regional coordinators for OWF/E2I and have created a partnership with the Department of Finance Accounting Service (DFAS). Brandon Soper utilized OWF/E2I during his recovery and began his career with DFAS right after transitioning into the civilian world. Brandon is now a recruiter for DFAS’ “Hire a Hero Program”.
Brandon Soper was injured while competing at the Army’s Best NCO tournament. During his recovery period, Brandon connected with Ned Hall and Amy Marohl (OWF/E2I coordinators) that placed him with an internship with DFAS. Ned Hall, who has been with OWF for years, says “DFAS has been a great resource for medically leaving active duty.” Amy Marohl emphasizes, “through internships, Recovering Service Members can gain experience, and see if it’s a good fit for them. It’s an entry point, so don’t assume that you’re going to go in at a level that is your goal, but to see if this is another path that you may like, and there’s a lot of potential for growth.”
Within a month of leaving active duty, Brandon was offered a full-time position at DFAS in Indianapolis. Brandon’s journey with DFAS is one to truly admire, beginning at an entry level and through the years working his way up. By participating in the Hire a Hero program, he was placed on a list that allowed him to take on additional tasks and different jobs within DFAS. This experience made it easy for him to network and further his knowledge within DFAS. “I started off as a GS4, and almost cried. But once you get your foot in the door, there are so many opportunities. I constantly tell people, those first 2 year, just be patient. In my wildest dreams, I never thought this was something I was going to do.”
As the DFAS Hire a Hero program recruiter, Brandon’s on a mission to recruit Recovering Service Members and Veterans. He wants to provide them with the same opportunity that he was presented and help them further their careers. Most importantly, highlighting the value that Recovering Service Members and Veterans bring to the DFAS workforce. Brandon explains that ‘Military Personnel already have a step-up compared to civilians because they are somewhat familiar with a lot of forms that we utilize.” DFAS recognizes the value and skills that Recovering Service Members and Veterans bring, such as their leadership skills, team attitude, and mission focus. The Hire a Hero Program places qualified Service Members and Veterans in a file that matches their specialties and skills, and they can begin working their way up the ladder. To apply through the Hire a Hero Program, visit https://www.dfas.mil/careers/howtojoin/hire-a-hero/