Transitioning Military Veterans - Find Purpose and Make A Difference
by U.S. Army MaryTherese Griffin, Warrior Care and Transition
June 28, 2018
“I never imagined that I would be working at Amazon when I was in the Warrior Transition Battalion. It wasn’t easy, I did have to adapt and overcome some obstacles to get where I am. I also feel that it is very important for wounded, ill and injured Soldiers to find purpose in their lives, especially as they transition or retire. There could be a job, a volunteer opportunity or involvement in their local community. We have tremendous value to add to society – find your purpose and make a difference,” said retired Army Capt. Tim Bomke.
Army Capt. (ret) Tim Bomke and his Military Programs Coordinator Sarah Martin share Amazon job opportunities at the 2017 Department of Defense Warrior Games in Chicago during June. (Photo courtesy of Tim Bomke)
That’s what retired Army Capt. Tim Bomke of Redlands, California shares with others in the military community who are wounded, ill or injured. On June 3rd, 2005 while leading a route clearance operation in Northern Iraq, Bomke’ s vehicle encountered an Improvised Explosive Device. The explosion resulted in the young Captain losing his right leg below the knee. He would also receive treatment for a Traumatic Brain Injury and Post Traumatic Stress Disease. Bomke began his recovery at the Madigan Army Medical Center, Ft. Lewis, Washington and later transferred to Joint Base Lewis-McChord Warrior Transition Battalion in 2007 upon its activation. He received a medical retirement in 2008 and has not stopped trying to find his purpose to make a difference.
“I lead Amazon’s military programs team. My team builds and maintains strategic partnerships with government, non-profits and other entities to support transitioning military veterans and their families. I work with the Army Wounded Warrior Program and the Deputy Chief of Staff, Warrior Care and Transition leadership, transition advocates and their counterparts from other branches. It’s a dream job to be able to assist service members and their families. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else and it feels good to give back to the greater military community,” said Bomke.
Clearly knowing the value of the WTB as a Soldier and now as a businessman, Bomke says it’s a no brainer for his company to specifically seek out folks with a military background… even if they’ve recovered from the most serious of injuries.”
“That’s easy, we value the skills and leadership veterans bring with them after they leave the service. From operations to technical to corporate roles, the veterans we hire are excelling and helping innovate on behalf of our customers, “added Bomke.
To get to that point, Bomke says what the Warrior Care and Transition Program offers is crucial for success. “Adaptive Sports are critical for the ongoing recovery and overall well-being of the wounded, ill and injured community. It gives us a goal to chase. When your life is shattered into a million pieces, you need hope and something to strive for. I can imagine myself back in 2005, stuck in the hospital, bored and unsure about the future. Had the Warrior Games been around then, I picture myself in my hospital bed planning to try out – and ultimately more optimistic about my future,” he said.
This year, the married father of two was selected as a member of the 2018 Army Team to participate in the 2018 Department of Defense Warrior Games in Colorado Springs, Colorado where he will compete in swimming, rowing, sitting volleyball and wheelchair basketball. He never had a thought of giving up but says it’s been challenging since June 3, 2005.
Resiliency is a key component of the WCTP that helps our wounded, ill and injured Soldiers. Take that resiliency and find your purpose as Bomke says. There’s always that familiar path the good Captain took that he is giving free directions to.