In four filled conference rooms on Veterans Day 2019, MISO employees gathered with over 35 self-identified MISO employee-veterans to honor them for their service to this country. The “MISO Thanks Its Veterans” event, held at Carmel, Eagan and Little Rock provided a great opportunity for the MISO employee-veterans to receive the thanks they so richly deserve.
John Bear spoke to the MISO employees about the significance of Veterans Day, as well as the historic beginnings of Veterans Day (Armistice Day). He shared with the MISO audiences that there are more than 19 million veterans in the U.S. with the majority of them being Vietnam War veterans. Bear also noted that many of the skills taught in the military are what employers look for in a potential employee (team-work, integrity, commitment and leadership, to name just a few), and they also reflect the MISO Core Values.
Bear led the MISO employees in a salutary round of applause to the employee-veterans for their service and to the MISO employees who are family members of veterans for their sacrifice and hard work while their loved ones serve in the military.
A Closer Look at Their Military Experience
When you think of the words “honor, strength, teamwork and valor”, what do you picture? Many of you likely picture a person in a military uniform. Five MISO employee-veterans shared information about their experiences in the U.S. military as part of the “MISO Thanks Its Veterans” Veterans Day celebration. Here are their stories.
Can you imagine traveling to 21 countries in 21 years? That was life for Scott Worth, (U.S. Marine Corps). Older relatives largely had set his future path, and Worth was looking for something challenging to do. So, he joined the Marines. The “brotherhood” of the Marines is important to Worth and he still gathers with his Marine friends, annually. “The #1 skill I learned in the Marines was leadership and the U.S. Marines Corps is premier in teaching leadership principles,” Worth noted. When asked if he would do it again, Worth did not hesitate to confirm that he would. He added, however, that the worst part of serving in the military is being away from your family.
The largest contingency of MISO employee-veterans served in the U.S. Navy, and one such person is Jason Gaylor. After scoring 99% on his Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB), you can “bet your sweet bippie (“Laugh-In”) that Gaylor was heavily recruited by all the military branches. Gaylor joined the Navy “Nukes” where he served as a nuclear machinist mate. He helped build an aircraft carrier (USS Harry S Truman) and is a “plank owner.” A list of all the plank owners hangs in the Truman Room on this ship. “One of my fondest memories is being able to see the ocean and taking a giant ship out into the waters and running it very fast to do the max turn testing. It’s amazing that you can take something that big and make it go and turn so fast,” he added. Later, Gaylor landed a job at the largest nuclear power plant in the U.S. (Palo Verde) before joining MISO.
Being separated from family for extended periods-of-time is one of the hardships of being in the military, for family members as well. David Croy (U.S. Air Force) was drawn to the U.S. Air Force because of his interest in airplanes, with a goal to be an electrician. “I was deployed from the National Guard during 9/11 for one year in Louisville with the C130 airplane transport. We were at the ready to transport troops to their deployment zone,” Croy said. Fortunately, that trip did not have to occur. He was an electrician on the plane and served in active duty as a MP (Military Police). He has 22 years of experience in the military (some of that in the Guard and Reserves). Croy appreciates the teamwork and comradery and understanding the fundamentals of electricity that the U.S. Air Force provided to him.
Michelle Lake (U.S. Army National Guard), served eight years in the Guard, beginning in several cities in the Midwest. Then, she was deployed to Saudi Arabia and assigned to set up the functions of a postal company for all the military personnel in the area. During one period, Lake was near the Iraqi border. “I still can remember the SCUD missiles as they streaked across the sky. It was such a powerful image,” she said. Another powerful image was standing in the chow line where the military personnel could only eat the food that was offered. “There were several cans of food, but what I remember most were the orange eggs. I ate them, and, surprisingly, they tasted fine,” she added. Lake believes that the military was a good experience for her as she was able to do what she was trained to do. Moreover, like many others, she remains close friends with those who served with her.
Joining the U.S. Army just as the Vietnam War was winding down and before the beginning of Operation Desert Storm, Mike May spent seven years in the U.S. Army where he learned Morse Code and attended radio operator school. “Unfortunately, what I wanted for a job and what I got are greatly different, and I didn’t use Morse Code until I was assigned to my final unit five years later,” May said. On the flip side, one of May’s fondest memories was being deployed to Greece for one year. He does not have any “worst” memories. According to May, adaptability was the #1 skill he learned while in the U.S. Army. “They train you, then something happens, then you adapt,” May said. “The Army also taught us how to deal with different personalities and how to achieve consensus,” he added.
It’s interesting to hear these stories and see how the U.S. military helped to shape these five MISO employee-veterans. They and their employee-veteran colleagues have been able to bring these skills and training to help MISO achieve its vision.