Many Veterans Continue to Serve our Country Through Conservation and Preservation of Natural Resources Meet a Few Working in the Southwest Region
Anne Hammond is Chief of Human Resources.
Anne Hammond joined the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service after serving 25 years of Active duty with the U.S. Navy.
Hammond says, “In the 80s when I started, the opportunities for females were limited. Many jobs were in manpower, personnel, and training, which later was renamed Human Resources.” She added, “My entire career was in HR.”
What led her to Service after achieving a military retirement? Hammond attributes it to timing, mostly. She explains that she had leveraged a skill set in the Navy that she could take anywhere. But it was Hammond’s appreciation of the southwest, and that fact she and her husband are very active outdoors, that increased the appeal of working at the Regional Office in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Hammond just celebrated her one-year anniversary with the Service in September and has really enjoyed the experience and the challenges.
On comparing her experience in the military to the Service, Hammond said, “DOD is more driven-based on world events. Here we are focused on land and resources in our own backyard and that is nice.”
She also compared her HR work experience indicating the concepts are the same, but the terms are different.
She adds, “It was like learning a new language.”
Continuing, Hammond notes the similarities are much greater than she expected. With the military, she took care of the HR needs for employees from recruitment to retirement.
“We do the same thing here,” she says. “We bring on new hires, and help them grow and develop in their careers until separation, or retirement.”
Hammond is the Chief of Human Resources in the Southwest Region.
Anthony “Tony” Long
Anthony “Tony” Long served in the US Army for 23 years and was an Army 1st sergeant. He says the opportunities that he found in with the Army prepared him for government service, and provided him with the skills he needed to succeed.
Long began working with the Southwest Region in the Division of Diversity and Civil Rights, serving as an advocate for veterans. In his position, Long assists with recruitment efforts and participates in job fairs and other outreach. That was how he learned about the many possibilities of bringing on Veterans through the Wounded Warrior Project, an internship program designed to help wounded veterans gain new skills that will help them re-enter the workforce. With full approval and committed support of the Regional Director, Long has helped several unsung heroes gain internships in the Southwest.
Long recently accepted another position in Region 2 as an HR Specialist at the Regional Office, where he will continue to be an advocate.
“I’m proud to say this is a very veteran friendly organization,” Long shared. “Veterans are very well received, and there are a lot of opportunities to succeed here, while doing something that benefits this great conservation agency.”
Tom Buckley served in the U.S. Navy for 8 years, from September 1964 to November 1972.
Buckley was a Navy Air Traffic Controller working in control towers and radar rooms. He served two tours of duty in Viet Nam, the first on an attack aircraft carrier in the Gulf of Tonkin where combat missions occurred daily, and the second tour in the Mekong Delta on a small Navy base that had river patrol boats, gunship and medical evacuation helicopters, and a Seal team.
Buckley credits his military experience for his success in the Service. He says it served him well as he maneuvers through the wide variety of work the Service has to offer, including a month long stint at the Incident Command Center during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
Buckley now works in the Regional Office with External Affairs as a Public Affairs Specialist covering Ecological Services and other programs. Photo of Buckley in a bunker.
Joaquin Baca served in the U.S. Army for six years, and was deployed to Kuwait. While on duty, Baca was amazed by the environmental destruction that he saw there. From that moment on, he resolved to study environmental science when he came back home. This led to the commitment and dedication in his current position with the Service as an Environmental Education Specialist.
Through his projects, Baca shares what he learns and inspires others to preserve natural spaces. He believes reaching urban youth is the best way to make changes that will continue in the future.
One of his recent projects was captured by a news crew with KRQE. This one focused on urban youth from a local high school that had a contest to design the bridges and kiosks for the Rio Grande silvery minnow sanctuary. After the winning design was selected, the students worked together and built the structures to code.
Jeremy Reichl was in the Army Reserve 244th Engineer Company in Boulder Colorado, the U.S. Navy SEABEES, and the Colorado Army National Guard 947th Engineer Company.
Photo left (Reichl seated on the right) – Reichl in uniform shown with fellow reservist, ready to protect his Country.
Photo right – Today, Reichl is an Engineer Equipment Operator and Wildland Firefighter (collateral), proudly working alongside other resource specialists and firefighters to protect Natural Resources.
Tiffany Rollins works for the Wildlife and Sport fish Restoration branch of US Fish and Wildlife. She was in the Air Force for four years, from 2004 to 2008. In the Air Force she worked as a crew chief on F16 fighter jets. She was discharged from the military after work on the fighter jets caused damage to her lungs.
Rollins is excited to work with the US Fish and Wildlife service while she pursues a bachelor’s degree in Biology.
Robert Vorous spent two years in Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom where he served as personal security for the Commander of 3-8 Calvary. After returning from Iraq,
Vorous was sent to Fort Irwin, California at the Fort Irwin National Training Center, to prepare new soldiers for combat readiness.
Vorous was again deployed overseas; this time to Afghanistan to aid in Operation Enduring Freedom for fifteen months. During his tours, Vorous earned several different combat awards and metals, including the Combat Action Badge.
After being honorably discharged from the military, Vorous was offered a position in Burnet, Texas, as a Maintenance Worker at the Inks Dam National Fish Hatchery. He is an integral part of the Regional Distribution Unit helping stock fish within Region 2.
Jeffrey Hutchinson is a botanist at the San Marcos Aquatic Resources Center in Region 2. He served in the United States Marine Corps as a ground support electrical technician from 1984 to 1990. Hutchinson was stationed in Irvine CA, Kaneohe Bay HI, Marietta GA, and Iwakuni Japan.
His favorite military memories are spending three years in Hawaii, meeting his wife, and the comradely he felt with his fellow Marines; something he now feels with his fellow workers in the USFWS.
Tamara Kurey continues dual duty as a Special Agent with the Fish and Wildlife Service and as a Major with the Army Reserves. Combined with 12-years of Active Duty and her time as a reservist, Kurey has a total of 22-years of Military Service.
Kurey enlisted after high school and was deployed to South Korea for 13 months specializing in military intelligence. Her long military career has enabled her to continue to move up in rank and has taken her from Fort Mead to Fort Huachuca to Columbia, Germany and Iraq.
During a break from active duty, Kurey gained an ROTC scholarship and pursued a degree in Wildlife and Fisheries Science. In the mid-2000s, she accepted a position with the Federal Bureau of Investigations, which led to her awareness and interest in the Service.
“I didn’t even know the Fish and Wildlife Service had special agents until I worked for the FBI,” says Kurey.
“When I was notified of an opening, I knew it was the perfect job for me – it matches my professional experience, education and personal interest in natural resources.”
Kurey first accepted a position with the FWS in 2008, and was immediately deployed to IRAQ as a Company Commander. She says she began working in earnest for the Service in 2009 as a Special Agent in Rio Rico, Arizona. Kurey enjoys her work and is grateful that the Service is supportive of her commitment to the Reserves.
Riesley "Rick" Jones.
Riesley "Rick" Jones. There was a draft going when Jones finished school, but he hadn't yet been selected. He says at the time it was difficult to get a job and he was doing odds and ends work that included wrangling horses and packing mules into Yellowstone.
"Come winter, though, it was just too cold for that," Jones remarked.
On a visit to his grandparents, Jones stopped in Jonesboro, Arkansas and signed up for the Army. He was trained in military intelligence and served a year in active duty and five with the reserves. After he came home from the Army, he picked up work with an air-conditioning firm for two years.
Then he asked himself, "I've got a biology degree, what am I doing working with air-conditioners?"
This led him to a meeting with Pat Noonan with the Nature Conservancy.
Jones believes he was the 32nd hire with the Conservancy. He was hired because of his degree and his practical business experience. This is where he began his career path in land acquisition in earnest. Jones stayed with the Conservancy for 12 years, earning the title of Regional Director for the mid-western states.
"About then," Jones adds as he reminisces, "I wanted to get my masters degree in business."
When he successfully completed his masters, Jones went back to work for the private sector for what he says was a couple of years.
"The problem was, I missed conservation," Jones explains.
In 1984 he joined the Fish and Wildlife Service as a Senior Realty Specialist in Florida (Region 4). In 1986, he got offered "quite a bit more money" to work for the State of Florida on The Save Our Rivers Program. Eventually Jones realized that the right fit for him was working for the Service, returning to the agency in 1991 to work in Texas.
He adds, "Fish and Wildlife Service puts wildlife first and that's why I came back and that's why I stayed. I'm in the front end of conservation work - I'm working with landowners on key land protection projects."
Today, Jones is the Chief of the Realty Division in the Southwest Regional Office.
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