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Veteran transitions to civilian life

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POSTED: November 27, 2007 5:00 a.m.
Ideally, people take retirement to mean a plane ticket to Florida and relax on the beach. But many military servicemen and women find retirement to mean a time to job-hunt.
After a minimum of 20 years of military service, soldiers in the Army are eligible for retirement, which includes a steady retirement check every month for the rest of their lives.
In spite of the retirement check and other benefits, many retirees decide to break into another career field. This can become a daunting task for people who have been out of the job market for two decades. Many find they have to brush up on their qualifications. This means going back to school for advanced degrees.
“It’s very scary making that transition from the military to the civilian sector,” Norris Moody said.
Moody is the owner and president of a mortgage company he opened after his retirement from the Army.
Moody retired as a first  sergeant after 26 years of military service. He had an Associate’s degree while in the military and earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration and accounting after he retired in 2002.
He said he decided to go back to school “to better myself.”
Moody is proud he was able to open up his own business in mortgage financing. He finds a lot of similarity in what he does with his military career.
“This is similar to the military,” Moody said. “It comes down to taking care of people and families.”
Moody said he “helps people achieve their dreams of ownership.” His company loans money to people so they can buy a home.
Moody deployed with the 24th Infantry Division for Operation Restore Hope in Mogudishu, Somalia. He has served overseas in Germany, Korea and Honduras.
Moody said he joined the military to serve his country and “do some traveling and also to seek an education.”
While in the military  earned more than an opportunity for a civilian education, Moody received training that awarded him the title of a paratrooper, expert field medic and Army recruiter.
Moody takes the Veterans Day holiday as a time to reflect on what it means for people who are currently serving and what it meant to him to devote years of his life to his country.
“I think that Veterans Day is a day to honor those service men and service women who served their country and reflect on current and personal sacrifice,” Moody said.
“What I enjoyed about being in the military, from my standpoint, is it definitely gave me the opportunity to travel and assume positions that I would not have had if it wasn’t for the military,” Moody said.
Moody attributes a lot of what he was able to do with his business to the training he received in the military. He advises retired soldiers or soldiers nearing retirement to develop their specialties in military into something that can become a second career.
“A lot of the leadership qualities I have is because of the military. Look at what you did in the military, take those same skills,” Moody suggests.  
He sees that most veterans are “trained in a technical field that can definitely be applied in other areas.”
“First of all they got to have faith in themselves,” Moody said.
 

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