Life after the military … Can we still Serve?

Posted by R. Laco R. Laco
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   Of course!  It did not take too long after moving back home to Dallas/Fort Worth to receive my first phone call.  A fellow shipmate, TD Smyer, sent me a note saying, “Hey Rudy, give me a call I need a SWO (Surface Warfare Officer) to help out at the non-profit the USS Fort Worth Support Committee”.  
After attending one of the board of directors meeting, I was elected as a board member and asking a couple of questions to myself.  First question, how much time will this volunteer effort consume?  Second question, what kind of impact can you really make?
The answer to the first question is – whatever volunteer time you can provide is greatly appreciated by a non-profit. My challenge was learning how to allocate new work-life balance after leaving the military. After determining how much time you want to give for volunteering, it is important that you block off that time on your calendar and make sure your family is aware of your commitment. The other key point I learned …  if you can’t be there for a meeting or event….it’s OK! Unlike the military, there is flexibility in your schedule. Remember, any time you give to help volunteer is always appreciated!


Union Pacific photo Dec 6, 2018

To answer the second question, the roots of my desire to serve come from our 41st President, George H.W. Bush.  He was one of the key leaders I looked up to who left a lasting legacy of service to our country. Two of his inspirational quotes which resonated with me about post-military life service.
(1) -  "I think the spirit of America, one American wanting to make another American's life better, or internationally our desire to see countries do better, or people in countries do better, coming from this concept of volunteerism is a very valid and important part of our internal being."
It is not hard to find you passion. Get involved and use your military experience to help them create core values create core values that strive to make an impact on those around you.  
(2) -  "The American Dream means giving it your all, trying your hardest, accomplishing something. And then I'd add to that, giving something back. No definition of a successful life can do anything but include serving others."
We served many years in the service protecting the American Dream. Post-military you can still serve and protect the American dream by actively participating in your community to make it better!  It's not about how much you make, but rather the mark you leave behind.
The one passion I missed after leaving the Navy was the ability to help mentor the officers and sailors who are still serving today. Luckily, I was blessed with a post-military opportunity to help with mentorship.  Through my non-profit, I enjoy meeting and working with the officers and crew that serve onboard the USS Fort Worth (LCS-3). I would never have guessed that I would have been able to serve the waterfront Navy again in Texas.  Four years later, I still volunteer and recently was elected as the President, Board of Directors of the USS Fort Worth Support Committee.   We’re making an impact on our community and with the crews that serve onboard.  Come check us out at - https://ussfortworth.org/index.php
George H.W. Bush, the 41st President of the United States, passed away on November 30th, 2018.  On December 6, 2018, I watched on television the special Union Pacific train which brought President George H.W. Bush to Texas A&M University for his burial at the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum.  Afterwards, I took a moment to reflect on his accomplishments. Bottom line, his legacy continues and you can be part of it!  There are many opportunities to volunteer… check out the Points of Light Global Network foundation at https://www.pointsoflight.org/   Find your passion and continue your service!  Thanks…. Commodore Rudy sends!