Calvin Wiseman is a veteran who joined PRIDE Industries in February 2020 and now works at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, CA as a janitor. Before joining PRIDE, Calvin served our country honorably for 16 years. He shares his story below:
“Joining the U.S. Army gave me the change I needed. After occasionally working as fieldworkers in the Maryland agricultural industry, my friend and I wanted a different way of life, a chance to see more of the world. At 18 years old, I finished my junior year of high school, enlisted in the U.S Army, and earned my GED while serving.
And what a change it was! I went to Fort Ord, CA, for training. It was completely different from my hometown. I had grown up in a segregated schooling system, and now I was working in an integrated environment. It was an exciting time, being around such a diverse group of people. I fit right in and served three years in the U.S. Army, including a tour in Vietnam.
I had joined the U.S. Army as a Private E-1, and I left as an E-5 Sergeant. My most memorable moment was earning my first three service stripes. As I moved up the ranks, I felt incredibly accomplished.
In 1973, I left the Army and joined the U.S. Army National Guard. It was the right move for me, as I wanted time to focus on myself outside of a formal military routine. For 13 years, I served as a Sergeant in the National Guard and received specialized tank mechanics training. Then, after serving my country for 16 years, I was ready to rejoin the civilian world.
However, the adjustment from soldier to civilian proved difficult; I didn’t know who I was anymore. After the Army, most of my jobs were dead-end and unmeaningful, but I remained hopeful I’d find something better.
At the same time, I was struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression. It was hard for me to accept this at first. Now, I’ve come to terms with it. And once I started going to the Veterans Administration (VA) for treatment, I began to feel better. My friends and family have noticed a change in me, and they’ve been wonderful—a real support system during my transition.
In 2020, I finally reached my goal of finding a job with a purpose when I was referred to PRIDE Industries by the Veterans Transition Center. I received assistance throughout my entire onboarding process from HR Director Paige Lindley. Counselor and Recruiter Sa’Cora Goodin checks in regularly to ensure that I have the support I need at my new job. My advice for other veterans struggling with PTSD is to seek help and stay connected to the VA.”