What does it take to reach your goals? Hard work, dedication, luck maybe? Perhaps it is a combination of all of it. Regardless of how you reach your goals, one thing is for sure, it’s a great feeling of accomplishment. But for some of us that feeling may not last long; that’s because we are in search of the next goal in life…
To reach your goals, you need opportunities. But those opportunities may not often knock on your door, but when they do, you must be ready to take on the challenge. Taking on to those challenges sometimes requires a leap of faith, not only because you are not sure about where is it going to take you, or how long is it going to take to get there, but the unknown of how it is going to end.
Almost 27 years ago I jumped at the opportunity to become a soldier and make a career out of the military. Now, I’m about to complete that goal, and the feeling is great, but I know it will not last.
What is my next goal in life? I was ready to do whatever was necessary to reach my next goal, and I knew it was going to take hard work and dedication to acclimate to my new life, but I was also searching for opportunities… and I got lucky! I didn’t have to search very long, nor did I have to do it alone. Why? Because I was presented with an opportunity to participate in the Veterans Local Government Management Fellowship Program (VLGMF)
The VLGMF is a program that provides retiring and transitioning service members with the opportunity to learn and work with a local government agency for 16-20 weeks. The VLGMF was the perfect opportunity to reach my goal. As part of the program, I was evaluated and assigned to Pueblo’s Board of County Commissioner’s Office (BOCC). The BOCC took into consideration not only my skill sets, but also my personal desires.
Time was not wasted before I had my first assignment. I was tasked with serving on the Pueblo County Jail Task Force to study all short and long-term issues associated with the county jail. During this process I have met people from all sectors across the community: doctors, lawyers, police and sheriff’s officers, teachers, and mental health counselors, as well as business owners and other community leaders. This experience opened my eyes to the world of politics and allowed me the opportunity to understand the process behind providing solutions to the community’s issues. My next task was to review and research the many vacancies that need to be filled for the county and city’s “Boards and Commissions.” These boards help achieve the community’s goals for progress in health, technology, social services, education, etc. The process of organizing these committees is a very complex but fulfilling one, and I’m glad that I can be part of the team that makes this happen.
I was also assigned with assisting the Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office evidence room section and helping with their software to create a more time efficient way to conduct their inventory. From there, this assignment quickly extended to the Public Works Department. Currently, we are developing solutions to increase the department’s capability to inventory and locate critical infrastructures in need of scheduled maintenance. Finally, I have been partnered with the Emergency Services Bureau, learning the culture and the way this agency conducts operations during emergency situations.
The overall experience that I have been exposed to is one of immeasurable value! Hard work, dedication and a little bit of luck, is helping me reach my next goal. Most importantly, I accepted the challenge to seek a career in local government management and be part of an amazing group of individuals that care deeply about their community, economics, environment, services and most importantly their people! I am very thankful for the opportunity the VLGMF program offered me, and my next goal in life is at arm’s reach!
SFC Eddie Medina, U.S. Army