According to the latest U.S. Census Bureau information from June 2020, there are 18 million living Veterans in the United States.1 Every year on November 11th, we celebrate their sacrifices by observing Veterans Day, a federal holiday meant to celebrate all Veterans.
Want more information on Veterans Day? Check out this post on U.S. Presidents Who Served in Our Military.
This November 11, we’re celebrating Veterans Day by spotlighting Veterans working in our stores! We’re honored to be able to share their stories.
Meet Tanya, Store Manager in Houston, TX
“Some people come back stronger; some people come back broken. [Serving] takes a toll on your mind, body, and spirit.”
Photo courtesy of Tanya M.
Tanya has been with ACE for three years. She was promoted a year into her tenure and credits her mentor, Ileene, for encouraging her to develop into a leadership role.
Tanya joined the Army Reserves when she was a junior in high school. Growing up in a small town in Texas, she loved playing basketball and hoped to play on scholarship in college. By the end of her junior year, however, she hadn’t yet received a scholarship opportunity, so she decided to join the military.
“I joined basic training first,” she says, “the summer before my senior year. I came home, I graduated, and I ended up getting a scholarship to play basketball at Texas Southern Houston.”
Having already signed for the Reserves, Tanya deferred her scholarship and left home to begin her service.
During her military career, Tanya served as a Motor Transport Operator (88M), operating a variety of military vehicles. She also worked in the role of 77 Foxtrot, a fueler mechanic position. She spent time in Missouri, Texas, and Illinois, and she had the opportunity to assist in New York following the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
“I’ve seen things happen firsthand,” she says. While in New York, Tanya and her battalion, whom she affectionately refers to as her “battle buddies,” took part in the cleanup, removing debris, directing traffic, and conducting other necessary tasks. When she returned home, she was asked to re-enlist, but she opted not to.
“I had a child by this point, and 9/11 had an impact on me, too.”
When asked what Veterans Day means to her, Tanya says: “It means a lot, especially during this time. I took part in a lot of sacrifices to help this country. Once you get the feel of having helped something bigger than you, it makes you want to do more. I take pride in voting, I take pride in protesting, all things that will help the country.”
Meet Michael, Store Manager in Cottonwood, Arizona
“They always tell you when you go in, you sign that blank check, putting yourself on the line. I took that to heart.”
Photo courtesy of Michael E.
Michael has been with ACE for just over a year, serving as Store Manager since he got out of training. During his career in retail, Michael has worked in a variety of roles. He enjoys working with his customers and says “the busier it is, the happier I am.”
Michael was born and raised in Tennessee. “Back then the only way to get out was to go to college or go into the military. I chose the military.” After signing up for the Army during his senior year in high school, Michael went straight into basic training following summer break. At the time, Operation Desert Storm had just begun. Michael’s first stop was Korea, where he spent 13 months.
After returning to the U.S., he served at Fort Hood in Texas, and in Austin.
Michael expresses frustration around the treatment of Veterans after their service. “The U.S. doesn’t do enough for their Veterans with healthcare and assistance programs. There are homeless Veterans. I don’t get the lack of support for someone who has given themselves to serve their country. The Veterans are [often] pushed aside, left out.”
For Michael, celebrating Veterans Day is one way to show respect and recognize the millions of Americans who have served bravely.
“I like Veterans Day,” he says. “It means a lot to me. They always tell you when you go in, you sign that blank check, putting yourself on the line, and I took that to heart. Many [workplaces] don’t recognize it.”
Meet Dallas, Store Associate in Denver, Colorado
“I was never one of those people you would have expected to join the military … it just showed me that even though I wasn’t ‘that type of girl’, I could still do it.”
Photo courtesy of Dallas K.
Dallas joined the ACE family in May 2020 and is the newest employee in her district in Denver, Colorado. As a new Store Associate, Dallas works at various stores in the district, often working independently with customers.
“I enjoy [my job] because I like being able to be in charge. It’s nice to be in a job where you’re actually recognized for the work that you do.”
Dallas joined the Army Reserves after high school as a Reservist. She completed her basic training in the Missouri Ozarks at Fort Leonard Wood and moved into a role as a Motor Transport Operator (88M). She served in the Reserves six years.
While Dallas was in the Reserves, her husband was on active duty. “I was able to move wherever I needed to,” she says. “We were stationed for a while at Fort Stewart in Georgia.”
To Dallas, Veterans Day is a reminder of the pride she has in herself for having the courage to join the military and serve her country.
“I was able to come from high school, where I was a choir girl. I was never one of those people you would have expected to join the military, but I was able to make it through basic training.” She explains, “by the end [of basic training], I was able to even max out my [physical training] scores.”
“It just showed me that even though I wasn’t ‘that type of girl’, I could still do it.”
Thank you, Tanya, Michael, and Dallas, for serving our country! We’re proud to have you as ACE employees.