My Family Is At The Center Of My Life, And That’s Alright

The Long March

No. 19 in our contest says you don’t have to find meaning in your work, that there are other places that might be better.


Kevin LaCroix writes: “I did one enlistment in the Navy.  I started in the Nuclear Power Program but did not finish it.  I ended up doing what I wanted anyway, a machinist, Machinery Repairman, to be exact.  I served in the relative peace between Beirut and the first Gulf War.  Over-all I enjoyed my time in.

After separating, honorably, I went out looking for work as a machinist.  After about two dozen applications, I was hired but was told my job experience was considered no better than a high schooler graduating from a vocational tech program.

That hurt. I had been a second-class Petty Officer, with plenty of experience on tin cans and a tender. The civilian world was very different. My Navy training did not really prepare me for a civilian job.

I was planning to re-up but met the woman that would become my wife.  I went back to school at night while working 55 hours/week. Through two years of partial unemployment because the aerospace industry crashed. I eventually finished my associate’s degree while working one-and-a-half jobs and having our first child. I soon had my dream job, then my wife was pregnant with triplets.

I quit my job to take care of my suddenly-doubled family. This was my new purpose, my new job. Having four kids under 3 kept me busy. The order and discipline I learned in the service helped maintain some ‘semblance’ of order in the house. It was not easy

As we seldom appreciate what we have, when we have it, I was no different. As I sit here typing this out, I know that 28 years + of marriage and 4 kids grown into young adults was my purpose. In that time, I still wondered about ‘what if’ I had stayed in or re-upped. There are things I miss about the military, but my mission became supporting my wife in her career and bringing four people up to be happy and healthy and productive. My wife and I and our kids have supported each other in various personal struggles. We would not be here without each other.

My purpose now, for lack of a better word, is my wife and I and our journey towards a distant retirement. I also am taking time for me.

In all, I am satisfied with the decisions I have made.  Not all have been good, or smart, but I would not change a thing, even if I could, because the good, fun and great times far outweigh the not-so-good.”

U.S. Air Force photo by Sr. Airman Sergio A. Gamboa.
(Courtesy of Jackie Melendrez)

Editor's Note: The following story highlights a veteran at Iron Mountain. Committed to including talented members of the military community in its workplace, Iron Mountain is a client of Hirepurpose, a Task & Purpose sister company. Learn more here.

Jackie Melendrez couldn't be prouder of her husband, her sons, and the fact that she works for the trucking company Iron Mountain. This regional router has been a Mountaineer since 2017, and says the support she receives as a military spouse and mother is unparalleled.

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Photo: U.S. Army

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