Hello everyone my name is Nole Hopkins and I am a 20 year transitioning Army Veteran and Fleet Maintenance Manager. Like many transitioning service members I am a little nervous about what my future holds after my service obligation is complete. The military does what it can with its service member transition programs but ultimately it’s up to the individual on what they want to do after their service.

I personally have explored several options in hope that one might meet my future needs. After some serious research and soul searching I found that working for a local government would be my calling. I like the idea of using my skills acquired from the military and using them to make a difference in a local community. The only problem I had was trying to figure out how to make this happen.

When I heard about a pilot program being offered to help veterans that were interested in local government I jumped at the opportunity. After completing the application process I had the opportunity to interview with the two local governments that would be hosting this program and was afforded the opportunity to choose my area(s) of interest. I chose Emergency Management and Fleet Management.

On my first day I met with the City Manager and he took me around the city to meet with all of the various Department Heads that served the City and its citizens. I was taken back by the kindness of these people and their genuine effort to make me feel at home in their world. When I reported the next day my schedule consisted of working in the Office of Emergency Management in the morning and the Fleet Maintenance Department in the afternoon I figured this would give me a well-rounded experience and an opportunity to see the different aspects of two different departments during my time with the fellowship.

After my first week of observing I began to notice some of the challenges each department was faced with. Many of the departments appeared to be understaffed and underfunded which coming from the military didn’t seem to out of the ordinary, but the one thing that caught my attention was how they dealt with their short falls.  Even though, the city government is relatively small in comparison to others, they possess a tight knit group of people that use their relationships to help one another by sharing resources and information, all in an effort to support their citizen’s needs. This sort of team work was what I was accustom to in the military and it was what I yearned to continue to do.

The Veterans Local Government Management Fellowship (VLGMF) has afforded me the opportunity to establish a name for myself within a community by letting me see how things operate behind the scenes and actually get hands on experience. If you are interested in working with a local government I highly recommend this program.

Nole Hopkins, CW3 (Ret.)

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