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Friday, August 23, 2013 13:37 | Daniel Carrera

It is very interesting where life takes one, how one minor event can change the course of a person's life. This is what happened to me when I first walked in the SWVBRC. All I wanted to do was use their facilities for personal matters and I ended up being the 100th learner.  Now I am excited to start my new journey and build quality relationships with people who share the same interests as I do and learn from those who don't.  So I ask you; "What minor event changed the course of your life?"


  • Sunday, September 29, 2013 11:01 | Laurel Ho
    Gosh good question! I have to think on this one. Meeting Al was a major event so I can't include that!
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    • Friday, October 04, 2013 11:44 | Daniel Carrera
      Your right about that! He has an immense amount of knowledge that everyone can learn from and what he is doing for our community and our Veterans is spectacular! This is why I have committed my time to volunteer at the Southwest Veterans Business Resource Center in order to be able to serve my community and our Veterans, who were prepared to sacrifice it all for our great nation. Many, unfortunately, did pay the ultimate sacrifice, may they rest in peace and God bless them and their families for everything that they have endured; It is because of them that we need to honor our Veterans now. They have afforded us the opportunity to do so!

      Semper Fi,
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  • Thursday, October 03, 2013 12:33 | Jose Ramirez
    Just being in the service in general was a real eye opener. Going from living in a small town that was secluded in the middle of nowhere to living in a big city is a huge change for anyone. You never know what is out there for you in life if you don't explore your options.
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    • Thursday, December 12, 2013 20:38 | Daniel Carrera

      Your right about that, military service really gave me a purpose in life and that was a big eye opener. I really enjoy your last statement. "You never know what is out there for you in life if you don't explore your options." That is very true!
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  • Saturday, November 02, 2013 15:46 | Jeffrey Backus
    Welcome to the SWVBRC.

    "What minor event changed the course of your life?"

    An unwanted phone call from the Army Recruiter that basically had me signed up and waiting to ship caused me to decide not to enter the Army. A couple weeks later, I walked into the Marine Recruiters office and shipped the same week.
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  • Thursday, November 14, 2013 12:08 | Sigrid Gilbert
    Congratulations on being guided to walk into SWVBRC, becoming the 100th learner!
    From what I have been reading in the blogs, you couldn't be surrounded by more dynamic people with amazing life experiences who are seeking to put their skills and expertise to work. I was touched by your question that brought up special memories.

    An event for me, not so minor, was 9/11. My 8th grade class in Poway USD wanted to do something patriotic beyond flying a flag on their car. I looked up Navy League to see what I could find locally and found Al Renteria, USMC ret., founder of Operation Interdependence, who invited us to write letters to the troops being deployed which OI would forward. We did and received the most incredible thank you letters back from Marines on a troop ship, the most exciting thing that ever happened to several of my 14 year old boys who suddenly knew they wanted to be Marines. Anyway, we sent Girl Scout cookies and more letters through OI, until I retired and later moved from San Diego to Austin where Al connected me to the director of OI in Greater Austin. Together with another team member and Al's support, we grew to the point we organized the packing and shipment of 100 to 500 boxes/mo., containing 50 quart baggies each with treats, donated by a TX grocery chain, 40,000 boxes of GS cookies bought and donated by individuals, and a personal note to deployed troops in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. I have never worked so hard at anything that has meant so much to me. I finally met Al when he came to Austin to conduct a signing ceremony for two new veteran learners here. How one retired Marine can accomplish so much! There have been instances in my life where I have been pushed, unhappily and not of my choosing, off of my position. For instance, I was renting a house that I loved and was forced to move, because the owners wanted to sell it. A year later, the 80 year old former neighbor lady lost her Colonel husband, so I helped her pack to move out of her house of 30 years. She was so grateful that she arranged to take me and a friend of hers, who is now my husband, to the Presidio in SF for dinner. It seems the thread that runs through it all is being willing to helping others with time and whatever else you have, however humble. Your question is a gift that has me thinking about my own journey and how to possibly add more value. All the best to all you at SWVBRC.
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Welcoming home our men and women doesn't end after the crowd disperses, it MUST continue on for the life of the Veteran! They've served us, now we will serve them with programs that work so they reintegrate into society.

We are a national public benefit nonprofit organization that educates American Communities about best practices to serve Veterans.  We honor their service by empowering Veterans to apply their training and skills to successfully transition to productive careers and enterprises.

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