Face of Defense: Injured Marine Continues Service to Others
By Aquita Brown
Marine Corps Wounded Warrior Regiment
MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va., Aug. 12, 2013 "Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life." This is exactly what Marine Corps veteran Sgt. Andrew Goodrich did when he joined the Marines in 2005, and again when he made the transition to the civilian sector in 2012.
Marine Corps veteran Sgt. Andrew Goodrich, left, stands with a colleague from the National Park Service near the Capitol in Washington, D.C., July 25, 2013. After being injured in 2008, Goodrich was able to continue serving others through the Operation Warfighter program and NPS. Marine Corps courtesy photo
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Goodrich sustained a traumatic brain injury and structural, spinal and nerve damage during a training exercise in 2008 at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C. After his injury, Goodrich wanted to continue his service to others even though he would not be able to remain in the Marine Corps. In 2011, while still on active duty, he learned of an internship through Operation Warfighter at the National Park Service, and he jumped at the opportunity.
From there, his work ethic and connections made it easy for him to accept a full time position as a Ranger in April 2012. Now he works at the Office of Law Enforcement, Security and Emergency Services, with a focus on emergency management, protecting and preserving parklands.
According to Dean Ross, NPS deputy chief for emergency services, it is an easy transition from Marine to Ranger because of the prior training they receive while serving our nation. “[Service members] routinely do well in law enforcement because they are disciplined individuals,” said Ross. “They know the principles of following the chain of command and are highly motivated.”
Goodrich also functions as the wounded warrior liaison for the director of the National Park Service. “I have a great job that aligns with my [ethics],” said Goodrich. He mentors other wounded, ill and injured service members, and dedicates his time coordinating and managing federal internships for them.
“Instead of being a human resources-driven program, [NPS] brings in people who are driven by the requirements of the people they serve,” said Ross. “Human resources is there to fill in the mechanics of our structured program.”
Goodrich has an extensive knowledge of the transition process because he recently went through the same phases at the Marine Corps’ Wounded Warrior Regiment. “I received a lot of transition assistance from the Wounded Warrior Regiment,” said Goodrich. “I had the opportunity to go to resume writing workshops, career fairs to meet new contacts, and I received moral support from the transition cell.”
He continues to take the skills he developed as a Marine and apply them to his civilian position. Goodrich and the NPS recently received special recognition from the U.S. Army and senior staff of the Bethesda-Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, “for outstanding service, support, and dedication in coordinating and managing federal internships for wounded, ill and injured service members.”
“I wanted a lifestyle and career that is about serving other people,” said Goodrich. “That is why I joined the Marines. The same oath I took to become a Marine is the same oath I took as a Ranger.”
He often tells wounded, ill and injured Marines that he encounters, “Rely on you. Take a predetermined amount of time to mourn the loss of your former life and friends. Accept and embrace that you are not who you use to be. Move forward. Don't think you have to figure out your next move in life immediately, but don't accept apathy as a lifestyle. Mature, rely and utilize your own sense of ethics.”
The Marine Corps Wounded Warrior Regiment was established in 2007 to assist combat and non-combat wounded, ill, and injured Marines -- and sailors attached to or in direct support of Marine units -- as they return to duty or transition to civilian life. The Regimental Headquarters, located in Quantico, Va., oversees the operations of two Wounded Warrior Battalions located at Camp Pendleton, Calif., and Camp Lejeune, N.C., as well as multiple detachments in locations around the world.
For more information about the Wounded Warrior Regiment, please call the Sgt. Merlin German Wounded Warrior Call Center 24/7 at 877-487-6299.