Veterans Day blog: Steve Cutler on Hire Heroes
As a kid, I had two dreams: One was to become a sports-entertainer and the other was to fight for my country. It is amazing that both of these dreams have been fulfilled.
Sept. 11 played a major part in my decision to join the United States Marine Corps. I was a freshman in high school in 2001, and I just felt joining the USMC was what I was meant to do. I was not interested in attending college; I always loved being active and nomadic. The USMC was where I needed to be.
I remember skipping class one day in September 2007 and going to the recruiter’s office in Bloomfield, N.J. I went in with the plan of being in the infantry, told them that I wanted to leave after Thanksgiving, and asked where I should sign. The rest is history — four years of active service, two combat deployments to Afghanistan, and an honorable discharge as a Machine Gunner (0331) with the rank of Corporal in the USMC. Life was great at the time of my discharge, but I had no idea how hard it would be to transition back to civilian life.
I chose not to re-enlist in the USMC and to go back home. My plan was to attend Rowan University and work on my degree in fitness and nutrition. I was never more bitter or angry toward people in my life. I kept to myself because finding my place in the lives of my family and friends was really a struggle. I was 25 and everything back home was different: music, movies, television and culture in general. It took a long time for me to realize how my experiences were totally different from what civilians around me had experienced. I kept in touch with my brothers in the USMC, which was my main source for learning how to cope. That is the most important thing to remember in being a veteran: We have each other for the rest of our lives. It’s an unbreakable bond, no matter the service.
Veterans Day is when we honor those who have served this great nation, but most of all, we honor those who have fought and sacrificed their lives for this country. They are the true heroes and the ones the American people should thank, along with their families that were left behind. As a child, I saw this day as a day off from school, but now as a man, I see it differently. This is a day we should respect and be thankful for the freedoms we enjoy. So however you can, reach out to those who have served and thank them and their families. If you know a veteran struggling with getting back into the civilian life, help them any way you can. Whether these veterans need help medically or with finding work, there are many organizations that can help, including Hire Heroes USA (HHUSA).
Hire Heroes USA seeks to help veterans, veteran employers and the community at large to turn the obstacles that veterans face into opportunities. They work with military veterans and their families to recognize and identify the traits that make them a skilled employee, allowing them to transition back into a civilian career. In 2014, 25 to 30 veterans were hired every week. Hire Heroes USA is on track to achieve their goal of 1,400 veterans hired for 2014. It means so much to me because I know what it was like to be unemployed and to search for a secure future so that I could provide for my family. I am lucky to be where I am, and as long as I continue to work hard, the future is bright. Hire Heroes USA is so excited to help the men and women who have served this great nation, and they will not let them be forgotten. That’s what this partnership means to me. Don’t ever forget those who have sacrificed so much.
My experience with WWE over the past year has been gratifying and humbling. Nowhere in my life have I been treated so well and been given so much. The funny thing is, I’ve told other WWE Superstars and Divas that this lifestyle is so similar to the USMC. You work hard day in and day out, and you only get out of it what you put in. So the transition hasn’t been that difficult. In the USMC, you trained to make sure everyone makes it home, including yourself. Here, we train to protect others and ourselves in the ring, so we can have long-lasting careers in the world of sports-entertainment.