In celebration of Veterans Day, I would like to take time to extend my appreciation and gratitude to our veterans. Veterans Day honors those have who courageously served our country in the military. As the daughter of an Army veteran, this day has always held special meaning to me and my family.

This holiday initially began as a commemoration of the end of World War I on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918. It was called “Armistice Day” and was later expanded to recognize veterans of all wars and the name changed to Veterans Day in 1954.

In recognition of Veterans Day, we reached out to the members of the Helping Unite Metro’s Veterans Employee Resource Group to learn more about their story. We asked about their experiences, including what they enjoyed about military life, the impact it had on them and how it has helped them succeed at Metro.

Side by side picture of Matt Candy in service dress uniform and a recent photo.

Meet Matt Canady.

He served in the U.S. Army for 20 years and is proud to be an American. Matt loves the military community and was honored to serve. He said he would do it all over again if given the chance. Matt is currently a Superintendent in our Transit Facilities Division.

What are some of the things you remember about military life that you enjoyed?

By far, I really enjoyed the overall comradery of the military, the development of lifelong friends—that “Band of Brothers” teamwork concept where everyone plays a critical role and relies on each other to accomplish the overall mission. I’ve relished all the travel, opportunities to meet a very diverse group of people and experience so many different and exciting cultures. I enjoyed wearing the uniform itself [as] a symbol of pride, an ambassador of hope and just being a member of one of the greatest armed forces on the planet.

How has serving in the military changed or impacted the person you are today?

Well, it has taught me to serve and to be grateful for the little things in life. I now have a sense of appreciation for the American way of life, understanding that it all comes at a cost.

How has your experience in the service helped you succeed at Metro?

It taught me how to be a leader and to never give up when times are difficult. My military experience has helped me understand that leadership is about serving. I have been able to reach back and rely on my military training to overcome difficulties, dig deeper and push forward.

Image of Paul Lang in his service dress uniform with his wife, side by side with an image of him today, also standing with his wife.

Meet Paul Lang.

He served in the U.S. Army for over 12 years, which included the first Gulf War and participation in Operation Desert Shield. After high school, Paul attended Bible College before deciding to pursue his childhood dream of joining the Army. He credits the experience for helping him discover his strengths and helping build confidence that has helped him throughout his life. Paul is currently a Transit Operator for Metro.

What are some of the things you remember about military life that you enjoyed? New challenges both physical and psychological. Jumping out of airplanes and helicopters. Learning to fly helicopters. Traveling the world. The comradery of so many different people from all over the world.

How has serving in the military changed or impacted the person you are today? I think meeting new people and challenges opened my eyes to the world and has made me more open to new adventures in life. Also, learning to do seemingly dangerous things teaches you to pay close attention to details. Even small details can be deadly. Overall, I think it helped me with self-discipline. That can change your life when it comes to learning how to be patient and work hard toward worthwhile future goals.

How has your experience in the service helped you succeed at Metro? When I first interviewed for my job as a Metro Operator, one of the questions asked of me was “What makes you think you can drive a bus?” It just so happened that the last helicopter I flew on active duty in the Army was a CH-47 which is 98’ long and 60’ wide with the rotors turning. I figured if I could fly that I had a fair chance of being able to drive a 60’ bus. But the real confidence I had was in what the Army taught me about thinking ahead and always being aware of my surroundings. It was a lesson I learned in the Army that translated very favorably to driving a bus for Metro. I am really appreciative of all the great lessons from my military service and happy to have used those positively for Metro over the last 20 years.

Thank you, Matt and Paul, for sharing your story with us and for your service. To all our veterans, military members and their families—we salute your selflessness and service.