As we approach the end of our first week of classroom instruction in Home Energy Auditor Training (HEAT), I feel it’s time to reflect and share my experience thus far. But before I do this, I would like to share a little bit of my background regarding how I came to be involved with Veterans Green Jobs.
I graduated high school in 2002 with a full academic scholarship, a pole vaulting state championship, and an enlistment in the United States Army Reserves. I grew up in a small town in WV and was ready to kick ass and take names in the “real world.” I had one marginally successful semester in college where I studied engineering before I went on to my scheduled Basic Training and AIT. The following semester was going quite well and then, unexpectedly, on Veterans’ Day, I received that infamous phone call….”You’re getting deployed to Iraq. Report to your new unit in two days.” Clearly, I’m paraphrasing but the time frame is accurate.
To make a long story short, I spent the next 16 months deployed to Ft. McCoy, WI and Baghdad (for one year and one week). Upon my return, I struggled focusing on my studies and relating to my fellow college students. I was in and out of school and dead-end jobs until I was recently introduced to Veterans Green Jobs (VGJ). I picked up an AA in business along the way and was accepted back into WVU’s engineering program in fall of 2008. I choose not to pursue professional engineering because my life experience had left me a little anxious, action oriented, and occasionally transient.
With VGJ, I find it greatly beneficial working with fellow veterans who I can relate with, and have fun in an educational environment. Our first dose of course work in ‘Green 101′ was spent in the Utah wilderness and was highly insightful, challenging, and fun. This segment of the program gave me a renewed motivation for the work and a great appreciation for it at the same time.
Following our time in the backcountry, we have buckled down to get into the nuts and bolts of our certification training in Home Energy Auditing (HEAT). The course aims at getting us vets trained and out in the field in a rapid, yet thorough, manner. The exchange of information, camaraderie, and individual growth has been nothing short of inspiring. From here, I look forward to expanding my knowledge of this socially, environmentally, and economically important work. I look forward to working with veterans from all eras and expanding my horizons to improve the livelihood of Americans and citizens of the world.
fmr. SGT. USAR
A Co. 458th En. Bn., 1st Cav. Div.
Nick Morgan is currently a participant in Veterans Green Jobs’ HEAT (Home Energy Auditor Training) Program in the San Luis Valley of Colorado.