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Nov 11, 2020

Recognizing Our Veterans at NYCM Insurance


This Veterans Day, We’re Celebrating the Employees Who Served Our Country and Now Support Our Customers

 

Every November 11th, veterans are recognized for their selfless service and dedication to their country. Originally known as “Armistice Day”, Veterans Day gives thanks to veterans who served their country honorably during war or peacetime.

 

This Veterans Day, we would like to highlight some of our amazing service men and women who, after serving our nation, continue to dedicate their time to helping people in other ways at NYCM Insurance.

 


Devin Testa, a former member of the US Air Force, is now a member of our Customer Service Team at NYCM Insurance.

When asked what attracted him most to the Air Force, Devin had a family tie-in. “My uncle was a veteran and he spoke very highly of the service.”

 

Reflecting on the ways he had to adapt to military life, Devin had this to say, “It was difficult being so far from home, but you really do become a family with everyone you live near and work with.” Devin continued, “Basic training was hard, but it shows you who you really are and what you can accomplish.”

 

One specific story that comes to mind for Devin came from unique experiences in his field. “I worked in the same building as Boeing and got to check out the flight simulators that the pilots used for training. I got to see the Stealth Bomber up close and personal when it was on base, which was pretty neat also.”

 

When asked what he misses most about being in the Air Force, Devin explained it as, “Knowing exactly what's expected and having no grey areas. I also miss the family I became a part of while stationed in Texas.”

 


Guy Bax, a former US Navy Reserves Boatswain's Mate 2nd Class, served from July 1999 - July 2007 with active duty from November 2001 - July 2002, is now a member of our Claims Team.


Guy explained a main hurdle in joining the service didn’t stop him from carrying out his dream. “I wanted to be a Marine, but I couldn't pass meds because I have a screw in my wrist.” Guy continued, “A Navy recruiter told me he'd get me in, and I'd be attached to a security force working with the Marines. Hooooyahhhhh!”

When asked what he remembers about adapting to military life, Guy said, “All the acronyms and the new military language. I never thought I'd get a handle on that stuff!”

One story of his service time that stands out stems from being called up to active duty after 9/11. “The sense of pride wearing that uniform was incredible. I was driving from NY to VA in uniform and every time I stopped for gas or a bite to eat, the people were amazing.  People paid for my gas and food and thanked me; it was a really good feeling.” Guy continued, “My orders only said to meet my gaining command, so I had no idea where I was headed or for how long. People's generosity helped keep my mind off of the unknown.”

Guy talked about things he wished people understood about the military: “I wish most that people could understand the bond between your team, platoon or boat crew. We have to know that each and every one on that team has each other's backs to succeed in a mission. There is no race, color, religion; we are just one cohesive unit getting a job done.” Guy continued, “I've played college and junior hockey and you have great friendships, but there is no bond like that of your team in the military. People also do not understand the discipline or mindset we have and often mock us as being brainwashed. When you have an 18 year old landing planes on a carrier or providing cover for you, you better be disciplined.”

The pride of putting on his uniform every day is one thing Guy misses most about being in the service, along with: “The strong bond of being a team member, the daily PT, the mentality of staying focused to get the job done and come home alive.”

 


Randy Gelatt, former US Navy OS2 E5, is now a member of our Customer Service Team.


 Randy, who had four years, six months, and 11 days of consecutive sea time explained that the sense of travel attracted him most to the US Navy.

Although he was fulfilling his quest for travel, Randy says the thing he remembered most about adapting to military life was being away from his family. Randy was a rescue swimmer and the ship’s photographer, giving him plenty of stories and memories to take away from his service time.

When asked what he wishes civilians understood most about the service, Randy commented on “the commitment that it takes.”

 


Katie Tyler, Petty Officer Third Class, served in the US Navy from 1992-2000, and is now a member of our Customer Experience Team.

Katie served her entire career in Hawaii, including four years of active duty during the Gulf War, where her husband was also on a ship. “I was on shore duty as the Admiral's secretary at a Marine Base called CincPac where I worked a desk job doing his paperwork in Pearl Harbor Hawaii. I was then a Reservist from 1996 to 2000.”

Katie recalled a few memorable achievements earned during her service time: “I received the prestigious award from the Admiral of the Seventh Fleet for Sailor of the Month in Pearl Harbor for my competency and excellence of work.” Katie continued, “I also received the Defense Medal for serving during an active war, and the Good Conduct Medal for four years of perfect conduct in the Navy, active duty.”

Being stationed in Hawaii led to plenty of fun things to do, Katie recalled her favorites as: “Being on the beach, in the ocean, sunbathing, swimming and water sports like boating and water skiing.”

Katie enjoyed the camaraderie of her fellow sailors and trust of the officers she served under as things she misses about her time in the Navy. “It’s about the team, not yourself. You are not successful as an individual if you leave your team behind.”



Cindy Camp served in the US Army and Army Reserves. She was trained in the Military Police, PSYOP and Civil Affairs from 1984 until the end of the Gulf War and is now a member of our Claims Team.

When asked what most attracted her to choose the Army, Cindy had a strong family connection. “My father joined the Army and served in the Korean war in the Special Forces Unit. As long as I can remember, I wanted to join the Army like he did. My two sisters and two brothers also served in the Army.”

Adapting to military life came with a number of unexpected situations, Cindy explained. “Being woken up abruptly while it was still dark outside to train in all kinds of weather was something I still remember.” Cindy continued, “We slept in inclement weather in canvas tents. The tents leaked, making for long nights. I remember being quite sick during basic training and the girls would put cough drops in my mouth in the middle of the night because I could not stop coughing.” Cindy talked about incorporating simple pleasures into her military life during basic training: “There were no desserts allowed during basic training. We used to mix cocoa packets in hot water into a thick paste for "dessert; we thought it was great!”

A strong sense of pride and the belief that anything is possible came from Cindy’s family ties to the Army, and she explained a special story that came from her dad. “My father used to tell stories about his survival training on different continents from Alaska to Panama, being left in the jungle with a knife and little else. My father’s family was allowed to sit in a special booth with the General of the base during his military graduation as he graduated the top of his class, men & women combined. This was very memorable for my dad, as there was an adult in his childhood who said he would never achieve anything great. That was the first time he thought maybe he could accomplish great things.”

As her family ties got stronger, Cindy gave birth to her first son during her time in the Army, among other notable memories: “I climbed and repelled down Cheaha Mountain. I also repelled out of a helicopter. I remember putting a M60 back together blind folded in two minutes.”  She described fun times she had with friends as, “playing cards, the popular game was Spades.  I was able to dress up as "McGruff the Crime Dog" as a police outreach effort to teach safety to children, "Take a bite out of crime!"

When asked what Cindy misses most about her time being in the service, her answer was simple. “The camaraderie with people I trained and worked with. They were like family.”



James D. Fitzpatrick served as a Corporal and Air Control Electronic Operator in the US Marine Corps from December 1984 to February 1992. Today he serves as a member of NYCM’s Customer Service Team.

James knew from the age of 12 that he wanted to be a Marine.

Although the most memorable thing about adapting to military life stemmed from the adjustment of being deployed, he gained many memorable experiences. “I have been to Norway above the Arctic Circle three times in three different Norwegian cities. I saw the Aurora Borealis for the first time in 1986, it was breathtaking. I never saw it again, but it is something I will never forget.”

When asked about fun things he did during his time in the military, he described the travel he experienced all over the world. “I have been to Norway, Cuba, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, I was in the Suez Canal and waved at the people on the Egyptian side of the ship. I have been to South Korea and Canada. All over the United States from sea to shining sea. I would not trade this experience for the world.”

James explained a few things he wished civilians understood about military service from a personal level. “It is not for everyone, but the experience is great. We have experiences that most people don’t, but from a different view - not as a tourist. It was our job to be there when our nation called us, no matter what. I am grateful for all of the other service members from the past, the current members, and the future members. It is a reality when people say we put our lives on the line for this country that I love.”



JB Harbison served as a Staff Sergeant in the US Air Force and was a Crew Chief on B-52G/H Bombers and also worked on KC-135R Tankers, serving from 1985 to 1995. JB is now a member of our SIU Team.

Since he was a kid, JB loved airplanes, and has family ties to the military. “My father served two tours during the Vietnam War. My Grandfather was in World War II with the Army Air Corps and went on to work for Boeing in both the civilian and military aircraft sections. I have great uncles who served in the Marines and Navy.  It seemed the best choice for me.”

JB explains this about his memories of adapting to military life: “I was raised to do what I was told, so my initial basic training was easy. It was easy for me to adapt to the military way of thinking and how to do things.”

During his time in the Air Force, JB was able to travel to different places with his Bomber. “I was able to complete several different survival training sessions with the Marines and Army and got to play war games with them as well. Great experiences!”

When asked what he wishes civilians understood about military service, JB stated, “I wish that civilians understood the bond and connections between service members.”

JB had this to say about what he misses most about being in the service, “The camaraderie of my brothers and sisters, the loyalty and devotion to duty. I miss the smell of JP-4 in the morning!”



David Green, SMSgt, USAF (Retired) Visual Information Manager, First Sergeant in the US Air Force from July 1976-October 1997 is now a member of NYCM’s Brand Management Team.

David’s family ties drew him to enlist in the US Air Force. “I had an older brother who was already serving in the Air Force as a pilot, and later a sister who also enlisted in the Air Force, so I was familiar with the service and was attracted to the advanced technology possibilities of different career choices.”

Order, structure and discipline are three traits David learned during his time adapting to military life. “These are three traits that are a common denominator in the most successful team members and leaders.” David carries these traits throughout his life to this day.

Remembering his time in the Air Force, David recalls a few memorable stories: “I was the noncommissioned officer in charge of the Tactical Air Command (TAC) Conference Center for approximately four years and during that time had the opportunity to listen and learn from General Bill Creech, Command of TAC.  One of the long-lasting lessons I learned during that time is one of the most important duties of leaders is to create future leaders from their subordinates...train your replacement thus ensuring the long-term success of the organization.”

David talked about his invaluable life experiences that shaped how he would lead teams in the future. “I not only learned how to be a leader, but more importantly how to be a productive member of the team.”

During his time in the Air Force, David had a few unique experiences. “I was a member of NATO AWACS in Geilenkirchen, Germany during the early 1990s.  This organization was comprised of 13 different nationalities at the time.  I led an organization that was comprised of German, Dutch and British citizenships, truly the most culturally rewarding and educational experience of my Air Force career.”

The camaraderie of the teams David served with and lifelong friendships made are things he misses most about his time in the Air Force.



Diana Head served as DP3 in the US Navy from 1989-1993, and now is a member of our Claims Team.

The decision to join the Navy stemmed from Diana’s love of the ocean. “The Navy provided me the opportunity to travel. I grew up as one of three kids to a single mom. We didn't have the means to enjoy family vacations. The first time I ever boarded a plane was on my way to boot camp!”

A memory that stands out most to Diana was the time spent underway: “It created a very strong sense of unity, being together for 15 days from leaving the US coast to arriving in Europe. We spent every moment together and it made us one huge family.”

When asked how she adapted to military life, her pre-military physical condition seemed to help. “I was very lucky to have been into sports in high school.  It made the physical aspect of basic training fairly easy to adjust to.”

Diana said what she misses most about her time in the service as the camaraderie and feeling of unity. She also explained that she wishes civilians understood what it really means to respect our flag.



Barry L. Hogan served in the US Air Force as Staff Sergeant and Fire Rescuemen and today is a member of NYCM’s Claims Team.

Barry’s decision to join the Air Force came from its reputation. “The Air Force had specific jobs to apply to, and a reputation for being elite.”

When asked what he remembers most about adapting to military life, Barry explained, “There was no privacy, but it was also lonely. My mom already taught me how to fold my clothes and make my bed, but learning how to work and deal with people from all over the world and their culture and beliefs was something I had to adapt to.”

Barry has many memorable stories but talked about some that stand out: “ICBM Missile incidents, hundreds of aircraft familiarizations, forest fires in Montana. I once rescued a four-foot iguana from a tree.” Barry continued, “It seems that every day was fun, something different was happening all the time on-duty on the airfield and off-duty exploring Texas, Illinois and Montana.”

Barry explains he wants civilians to understand that “professionalism and drive to be the best, train to perfection, and that discipline and bravery are expected of every individual, no matter what size, shape, color or rank.”



David Trevvett served in the US Navy for six years and is now a member of NYCM’s Claims Team.

David’s inspiration to join the Navy came from his wanting to “serve this great country and join my brother, William Trevvett, who served in the US Navy active duty.”

When it came to adapting to military life, David spoke of his time at sea and the friendships he made there: “I lived on a ship which was out to sea for months at a time. It did not take long to create a brotherhood bond with my fellow shipmates.”

During his time in the Navy, a specific story stood out that David shared: “We were cruising the Persian Gulf in the late 1980s, on an Aircraft carrier, when we went on high alert and all training came into play. For over 18 hours we all had something to do and it was amazing that every member could be proud of their response and proficiency.”

David spoke of his wishes for what others would understand about military service in this way: “I wear my service as a badge of honor and want everyone to know that my service passed beyond politics and was for the root of our great nation knowing that what I was doing was for everyone's freedom and their right to have their own opinion and not be afraid to have one.”

David said he was able to travel to many seaports and interact with different cultures while in the Navy.  “It is a great memory and although not a career for me, is something I am proud of doing.”

We are thankful for all the inspiring service men and women that make up our great communities. NYCM is also proud to support the Sitrin Foundation, who provides a healing environment for veterans, injured service members, and families. To all the service men and women who chose to defend our nation and our freedoms, not only today, but every day, we thank you! Be sure to thank the veterans in your life, workplace or community this Veterans Day.




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