We are lucky to have a new blog entry from one of our YADC members, Tiea. She hopes to work with veterans in the future and interviewed an Air Force veteran in order to learn more about his experience and gain insight that she can use in her work. Please read the interview below and visit the Kalamazoo Veterans Services website to learn about resources for vets in our community.
Vet's name: Mark Anderson
1.What was your educational path before joining the Air Force? I attended Muskegon Community College to complete prerequisite classes.
2.When did you join the Air Force? I enlisted in September of 1978 after college at age 20. I was first stationed at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California and stayed there for two years.
3.Did you ever have to leave the country? I was sent overseas to Zweibrücken, Germany and was there for four years. That is where I met my wife, Ulrika.
4.Where did you live when you were in Germany? I lived off base in Zweibrücken in a townhouse with my wife.
5.What type of work did you do in Germany? For work, I repaired roads and sidewalks, and in the wintertime I cleared the runways and prepared spaces for Air Force activities. When I wasn’t doing this type of work, I was in the sky flying.
6.What was your experience in Germany? The people were very friendly and nice, and when you walk outside everybody greeted you. My friends and I had fun and would go out often to the restaurant where my wife worked. Because many of my buddies did not have family there, everyone would come over to spend holidays with my wife and I—sometimes there were 20 people!
7.What did you do after being stationed in Germany? I returned to the U.S. and lived in Portage, MI with my wife and our daughter. I retired from the Air Force in 1984 after my wife became pregnant again, and we ended up having two more children. Later, I worked for a construction company and we bought our first house in 1994.
8.What types of benefits did you receive as a veteran? Since I was only in the Air Force for six years, I received medical benefits and assistance in buying a car and getting a loan on the house.
9.Overall how did you feel about your time in the Air Force? I enjoyed the work and had a great time.
10.Would you recommend being in the Air Force to others? Yes—I would because it’s a great way to get experience and it helps you grow up. I learned a lot of life lessons being in the Air Force.
Participants of YADC, community members with an interest in restorative and therapeutic justice or diversion programs, and YADC staff are encouraged to write posts to be submitted to the blog. Anyone is welcome to inquire as to the process of becoming published.
Please contact us if you would like us to post something on the website!