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Trading One Uniform for the Next: Veterans Serving as First Responders

Andre Gerard, Mark43 Community Manager  | 11 November 2021  |  3 minute read

In front of a deep orange sunset, silhouettes of armed forces members wait in a line to board a large military aircraft

On this Veterans and Remembrance Day, we honor and appreciate the military members, past and present, who have served their country during times of war or peace. Globally known as Armistice Day, November 11th commemorates the signing of the treaty that ended World War I.

This day is special to Mark43 as we have been a supporter of military veterans since our founding, and it is our honor to recognize all who served and continue to serve this Veterans Day.

Trading One Uniform for the Next

One of the common traits among veterans and first responders is their desire to serve and protect communities. They are the ones who answered the call. It should come as no surprise to learn that many military members choose to serve their communities when they leave active duty by remaining involved in public service, health care, or not-for-profit organizations.

This is no less true for the public safety community — many veterans continue to answer the call and become police officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians (EMTs), paramedics, and telecommunicators. While just six percent of the U.S. population has served in the military, veterans make up 10 percent of emergency medical technicians EMTs, 19 percent of firefighters, and 25 percent of police officers, according to a 2015 report by the U.S. Department of Labor. 

In the words of Mark43 team member, former Boardman, Ohio, Police Officer, and retired U.S. Marine Sgt. Gordon Hallof, “Service to my country is something I am proud of, and I wanted to continue those traditions through public service.”

Serving First Responders at Mark43

As a Navy and Marine Corps veteran who has deployed to Afghanistan, I wanted to find a company in the private sector that supports the successful career transition of military veterans. Veterans are held in high regard at Mark43 — we have many veterans on our team, including several in executive-level positions. These individuals help direct our organizational strategy and lead our teams in supporting first responders, public safety personnel, federal agencies, and the military.

For example, retired U.S. Army Sgt. Matt Portanova now serves public safety agencies as Vice President of Deployments at Mark43. Because of his military experience, Matt knows the best way to support Mark43 customers and their mission-critical operations is through outstanding customer care.

As a leader at Mark43, Matt focuses on expanding cross-team collaboration using many of the same principles and attitudes from his time in the army. “In the military, you work together as a team to accomplish the mission. You help others when they need assistance. You do the right thing when no one is watching. It’s taught me to put the work in to make your team and customers successful.”

As a military veteran, I saw firsthand the importance of having a strong veteran-supported team. I know that engaging with like-minded individuals around a common goal is not far from the mission-focused mentality of being a Marine officer in Afghanistan.

Resources for Veterans Looking to Serve as First Responders

Are you a veteran looking to serve your community as a first responder? Many local, state, and provincial governments provide services to recruit and place veterans at public safety agencies. Check with your local government for any programs available in your area.

In the U.S., veterans looking to become police officers can visit Vets to Cops, and veterans looking to become firefighters or EMTs can visit Troops to Firefighters.

Mark43’s veteran first responder customers are essential to the public safety community. Today, we’re pausing to acknowledge the courage and compassion of first responder military veterans and taking the opportunity to educate others about the continued service of veterans at home. 

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