Every branch of our military serve as a backbone of this country. Without all of these brave men and woman, there would be no United States of America. On this Veterans Day, we want to thank our team members and all veterans for your service!
We spoke to a few veterans on our team and asked them to share some memories about their service and what drew them to join the military.
Property Manager George Fels joined the United States Air Force and served for seven years of active military, which included flying 248 combat missions.
His primary role was a bombardier on B52’s.
Why did you join? My father was a crew member in B-17s in World War II. My favorite assignment was on Nuclear Alert in the Strategic Air Command during the Cold War.
What life lessons did you learn during your service? Awareness of your surroundings is one of the most important aspects of your life.
Civil Engineering Manager Abby Cooke served in the US Air Force for four years where she held several roles including traffic accident investigator and law enforcement officer.
What was your favorite assignment? My favorite assignment was one that required training. Not only was I (and still am) passionate about learning, but I also loved that most training was outdoors and kinesthetic. The convoy actions, urban tactical operations, weapons training, land navigation (just to name a few) were full of adventure and excitement, all while facilitating multiple levels of personal growth and fostering lifelong kinships.
What life lessons did you learn in the military? Oftentimes, we are limited by our own constructs. With discipline, determination, and vision, there’s nothing one can’t achieve.
Divisional Assistant Angela Ortega served in the US Army for eight years. Ortega was serving with the District of Washington Engineer Company and helped shore up the timbers and structure of the Pentagon immediately after the September 11th attack—allowing rescue personnel to retrieve the wounded and deceased from the building as part of Operation Enduring Freedom.
Her primary job in the Army was an 92A automated logistical specialist quartermaster corp. She was responsible for making sure equipment, materials and systems were available and functioning for missions. More specifically, provide supply support for soldiers and units in field services.
Why did you join? Growing up I had the privilege of seeing two of my uncles that had joined the US Army look so sharp in their uniforms. From such a young age, I saw the discipline, they walked tall and with so much pride. I have the fondest memories of one of my uncles, Tony, teaching me how to place my hand to salute and I just knew I wanted to one day to be able to follow in their footsteps and serve as well.
What do remember most about your service? I was serving with the Military District of Washington Engineer Company stationed in Fort Belvoir, VA during the September 11th attacks and was part of the recovery mission Operation Enduring Freedom at the Pentagon. As a result, the highlight of my Army career is when the MDW engineer company was invited to join as a guest of First Lady Laura Bush and attend the 2002 State of the Union Address. My superiors chose me to attend and represent the entire engineer company.
District Manager Matt Algiere served in the US Army for five years between 2014 and 2019. His primary role was an intelligence officer.
Why did you join? Being in the military was always something that I aspired towards growing up. Both of my grandfathers had briefly served in the Army and I always knew I’d have regrets if I didn’t go for it.
What was your favorite assignment? Intelligence Platoon Leader, not all intelligence officers get the opportunity to directly lead Soldiers in this capacity. It was an honor and a privilege to have this coveted assignment during my career.
Life lessons learned during your service? Always lead by example and servant leadership. I always want to make sure I’m demonstrating what right looks like. I’m also a big believer in the idea that if you go above and beyond and take care of those that you lead, they’ll follow you anywhere.