There are little ways and big ways to make a difference in someone’s life. On this National Rehabilitation Counselor Appreciation Day (March 22), Veteran and Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor (VRC) Desiree Dial shares how she makes a difference in Veterans’ lives everyday.
Army Veteran David Norman first met Dial in February 2017 when he applied to the Vocational Rehabilitation & Employment (VR&E) program. He had just left the Army and was seeking employment and transition assistance. That led Norman to Bethel University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Organizational Leadership.
It was Dial–herself a Veteran–who inspired Norman to “pay it forward.” He now helps transitioning service members at Fort Campbell, Ky., to better understand how VR&E can lead them–like him–into successful civilian employment.
Dial, who works with many Veterans pursuing different career tracks, says transitioning service members are often unsure what they want to pursue straight out of the military, or that they’re often afraid that some career choices could aggravate their disabilities. But it was Norman who most helped her, and he “made me a better counselor” because of it.
“I have this incredible job and opportunity to assist my fellow Veterans in identifying and reaching their employment goals,” Dial said. “This not only allows them to be successful, it permits them to provide for themselves and their families while increasing their self-esteem and confidence.”
Dial still receives phone calls and emails from other Veterans–like Norman–that she has helped over the years.
“It is a humbling experience,” she said, “and it reminds me constantly of the importance of what I do, the positive impact I can have on other Veterans’ lives.”
Around the country
Dial is just one of many VRCs around the country who exemplify VBA’s dedication to serving and inspiring our Veterans and service members. It’s a true one-on-one experience for each participant, and she and many other VRCs exemplify the best of what VBA offers, to make a difference in the lives of those who have served.
For more information on Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment, visit https://www.va.gov/careers-employment/vocational-rehabilitation/.
Ashley Gorbulja-Maldonado is a marketing specialist in VBA’s Office of Strategic Eengagement. Stephen Sears is a change management agent at the Nashville regional office.