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33 years of service and still serving: meet veteran volunteer Jackie Case

Volunteer Spotlight: Jackie Case

With Memorial Day weekend coming up, we wanted to take the opportunity to spotlight one of our most dedicated veteran volunteers, Jackie Case. Her service to Veterans Without Orders not only keeps the ship afloat – she’s critical to our team successfully executing clean water missions in honor of fallen soldiers.

We asked Jackie to tell us about her military experience, her transition to civilian life, and why she cares so much about the water crisis.

Why did you decide to join the Army?

The way I decided to join the Army is somewhat of a blur…I moved to the U.S. from Jamaica in May 1981, my cousin was graduating from high school that summer and had already joined the Army. I would go with her when she checked in with her recruiter and somehow, I was recruited. I was young, brand new in the U.S…I had no clue! The next thing I knew I was on my way to basic training.

Where did you serve?

I enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserve, so after completing basic training and advanced individual training at Ft. McClellan, AL, I reported to my Reserve unit in New Haven, CT. I later transferred to the 411rd Civil Affairs Battalion (CABN) in Danbury, CT, and was deployed to Southwest Asia for a time.

In 1999 I joined the 486th CABN in Broken Arrow, OK, and then went on to be stationed at Ft. Bragg, NC, Warwick/Newport, RI and finally Ft. Jackson, SC.

During my time being stationed at these different locations I had short periods of duty in Germany, South Africa and Belgium.

I deployed to Iraq in 2009-2010.

 That’s a lot of places! When did you retire?

I retired in February 2015.

What was the transition from military to civilian life like?

It is an understatement to say it was hard – really hard. I am still in transition after two years. I have spoken with retirees who have told me that it could take up to five years or more to fully transition.

I retired after a total of 33 years between the Army Reserve and Active duty. After twenty plus years on active duty living by military standards, knowing where I need to be, what is expected of me, what I will wear every day, basically having someone else control my life…i am now in the process of re-inventing myself, and it is a process.

I enjoyed my time in the service; I have no regrets, but there comes a time in all our lives when we have to leave the old cheese mines and look for new cheese somewhere else.

How did you get involved with Veterans Without Orders?

John, one of the founders, is a former supervisor from the 443th CABN in Rhode Island, so when I heard about VWO I immediately contacted him and asked how I could become involved in the mission.

What do you do for VWO?

My official title is Assistant Director; as such I assist where required in relation to overseeing day to day activities, strategic planning, establishing administrative policies and procedures etc. I’m also responsible for Knowledge management. Because VWO is an all volunteer organization in most cases it’s “all hands”, meaning everyone helps where needed regardless of title.

Why do you care about the water crisis?

I care about the water crisis because we are all affected or will be affected by it at some point in the near future.

The lack of clean water directly affects human health, especially in young children; it also contributes to lack of access to education for females, whose responsibility it is to get water for their family. Clean water is a basic need for survival; if I am able to help one person, one family then it is my duty to do so.

Those of us who are able to go into our homes and access clean water sometimes are not aware how fortunate we are. We, VWO members, have the training, the desire and the opportunity to help the less fortunate in developing countries, where the need to address the water crisis is the greatest.

What other veteran volunteering do you do?

As a veteran I volunteer with the Columbia, SC USO, which is not a veteran organization but it is an opportunity to continue my service to others.

 

If you want to learn more about the Carbonaro Mission: Guatemala, please visit our crowdfunding page.

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