Sgt. Ruben Garza served as a drill instructor and tactical communications specialist in the United States Army for seven years; in Hawaii, Germany and other locations in Europe. After his discharge from service in 1983, Garza found it difficult to obtain sustainable employment.
“You go from having rank and leading others to being an average Joe. I thought my experience and seven years of service would be more recognized and appreciated when I returned home,” he said. Under-prepared to compete with civilian job seekers, and unsure of how to translate his military skills, he went years without a permanent job. Garza began to give up hope.
Amplifying the stress of his job instability, Garza became a single father of three children ranging from 18 months to 9 years old. Garza worked wherever he could to provide for his family and with the help of his sister, was able to maintain a home for his children.
In October of 2008, Garza was assaulted and stabbed in a robbery. This left him unable to work as he underwent numerous surgeries and physical rehabilitation. Upon recovery in 2009 Garza visited his local California EDD (Employment Development Department) office where he saw a flyer for Goodwill.
Garaza attended several Goodwill funded workshops including logistics training, resume development, interview preparation, and individualized job development.
Upon completion of a logistics course, Garza was hired in the Trader Joes Distribution Center as a Warehouse Associate where he is currently employed full-time. We commend Ruben Garza for his perseverance and determination to succeed and proudly salute him as our 2013 Veteran of the Year.