Leaving a Legacy off the Battlefield
August 7, 2018 | Express Scripts
Each year on August 7, we recognize Purple Heart Day, a time for Americans to honor the brave men and women who were wounded or killed while serving in the military. Jared M. is an account executive at Express Scripts who received a Purple Heart in 2006 for wounds received in action in Iraq. He works in the public sector of our commercial division, managing 23 local government clients across the United States.
Finding a Path to the Military
In March of 2003, I found myself working in a dead-end job. I had graduated from high school in 2002 and didn’t think college was for me; I had no real direction in my life. But then I read a newspaper headline: “Marines Invade Iraq.” 9/11 was still fresh and after seeing that reality in bold print, a sense of motivation came over me. I was in the recruiter’s office the next day and arrived at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego a few months later. I graduated from training as an infantry Marine that August.
My first of two deployments to Iraq was in September of 2004 as a mobile infantryman. We were in charge of counter insurgency missions in Fallujah. Over the course of that deployment, I did 13 medical evacuations of fellow soldiers who had been injured on patrol. During my second deployment in September 2006, we stayed in the small town of Anah. While there, we saw more combat, casualties and fighting than on my first deployment. After 30 days in town, one-third of our company was wounded.
On November 25, 2006, we were out on a foot patrol when an IED went off, wounding just about everybody on the patrol. I was knocked out and when I came to, I realized what had happened. I found my radio operator and had him call in a quick reaction force; I set off a red flare to let our base know where we were and that there was an emergency; we started treating casualties and loading the injured into vehicles for medical evacuations. I was awarded the Purple Heart for my wounds received and a Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with Valor for my actions.
At the end of that deployment, I was left with a decision to make: should I go to college or reenlist? A month before I was set to come home, a Marine close to me was killed and that decided it for me. It was time for me to return to civilian life.
Transitioning Back to Life as a Civilian
After leaving the Marines, I started school at Lindenwood University in St. Louis. The guy who had no desire to go to college ended up with a bachelor’s in marketing, an MBA, and a master’s in communications and training development. During that time, I also worked as a personal trainer. After four years of personal training, I spent a few years in higher education, first teaching and then as the director of education.
I found my way to Express Scripts when I saw a posting for a training consultant position on LinkedIn. Several interviews later, I had the job and started in September 2016. My primary role was training account executives in sales and negotiation, but soon I became interested in the account executive role. So I started learning everything I needed to be an account executive. It took about five months to get onto that team, and I’ve now been in the position for two months, acting as the face of Express Scripts in interactions with my clients.
The culture at Express Scripts is like nothing I’ve ever experienced. At previous companies, I felt like employees came second. Here, I feel appreciated by all levels of the organization and have found a good work/life balance. I also recently got involved in VaLOR (Veterans and Leaders Organizing Resources), Express Scripts’ Employee Resource Group for veterans. Express Scripts and VaLOR sponsored me for an Honor Flight last May. For those who might not know, the Honor Flight Network is a non-profit organization created to honor America’s veterans for their sacrifices. It takes thousands of veterans to Washington, D.C. each year to celebrate their service and visit the monuments that pay tribute to them. I had the honor of being a guardian for a 90-year-old World War II veteran on his trip to D.C.
Outside of work, I spend time traveling with my wife and three children, playing hockey, and writing my memoir, which is about my experiences in Iraq and how I transitioned back to civilian life. A lot of veterans struggle to find a purpose after leaving the military, so I hope to inspire them by telling my story. I’m thankful for the multitude of programs I can take part in as a veteran and as an employee at Express Scripts, and I hope to give back to the Express Scripts community with a speaking engagement about my book and experiences this September.
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