Every person and family has a life story absolutely unique to them; their motivations, milestones, failures, and successes are what, often, defines their future. Each of these stories span an array of careers paths, homes, and changes, and for some, include service for our nation. Among those who answered the call to duty is David Gomez and his wife Monique.
For David, 9/11 struck a chord, the country was at war and he felt as though the United States needed the American people, including himself, to stand up and fight to defend the country, thus David enlisted in the United States Army, where he served as a combat medic, and deployed for a year to Iraq in 2005 and again for another year in 2007 to South Korea. Throughout his military career, his wife Monique stood by his side and supported him, though, she knew when David told her he was joining the Army, that the journey would be tough, but she would do what she needed to for their family and for David to be successful as a soldier. She worked a full-time job while they were stationed at Fort Hood, Texas to make ends meet, and during David’s deployment to Iraq, Monique moved home with her parents to focus on a further her education and ease her mind and worries that accompany having a spouse over seas.
David and Monique decided to put off having kids until David was out of the Army. David would have missed out on at least two years of their child’s life, David acknowledges that while the military was great and the opportunities offered were outstanding, he had missed out on a lot of time with his immediate and extended family, and missing his wife was difficult. He and Monique also decided it was time for them to start a family, thus the time had come and David got out of the Army. Monique remembers the feelings of fear and worries of him deploying again leaving, and hoped for a chance at a “normal” life together, however she kept in mind that the transition out would be an adjustment period for them, especially for David.
David planned to get out, go to college, and get a job, however the reality of post-service life was not exactly what they had expected. For David, the structure of the military no longer existed, so getting things done was a lot tougher. The two faced some rough patches, however they relied heavily on patience, love, and support to get through the tough times and made sure to appreciate the time they had together until things started to fall in place according to their plan. That’s when David attended a veteran golf tournament and met David Booth, who introduced him to Combat Veterans to Careers. CVC offered resources, had an extensive veterans support program, which includes community involvement and volunteers who assist via mentoring, budgeting, college, and jobs leading to careers. David Gomez said “Becoming a part of the CVC family has brought me closer than I have ever been to getting a firefighting career. They helped me transition my family from California to Florida, got us a furnished apartment, financially got us on our feet, and helped me through the fire academy.” CVC helped Monique get a job as a full-time property manager.
Monique remarks about the transition period since CVC “Life now has been great. Things have been going really well for our family. We plan on sending Dominic (their son) to the charter school when he turns three, and David is in the process of applying for the fire department, and I plan on staying with my job for the long haul. I love where I work and I love the sacrifices we have made to give our son the best life possible.” David adds, “The overall transition has been great and we have to thank the community for welcoming us. We plan on buying a home within a year and finally settling down after years of moving around the country. Having a family is the best experience I have ever felt, so I’m looking forward to growing our family and getting a job at the fire department.”