Beyond the Physical: Making healthcare work better for our veterans.
James Carter was teaching at Penquis Valley High School in Milo when he got the news that would forever change the course of his life. “In 2006, my best friend, who was the best man at my wedding, was killed in the war in Iraq,” explains James, “And it hit me hard; so, I decided to go back into the service.”
James had already served ten years in the United States Navy as an electrician and sonar technician. He’d been out of the service long enough to go to college for his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in public administration and to start a new teaching job. Now, he wanted to return to the military to help him process the death of his friend. The Navy couldn’t take him right away, but the army could, so he joined the army and spent another 11 years in the military. “I think that was very therapeutic for me,” he says.
After serving 11 more years as a patriot missile technician and achieving the rank of Staff Sergeant, he was ready to retire from the military and find a new opportunity. “I was at a loss when I got out of the military. You spend 21 years, and then you get out, and it’s getting back to a whole new lifestyle. And, then you get to a certain career level in the military, and then you get out. It’s hard to achieve that again, you’ve got to start down and work your way back up. So, when this job came up, it was a blessing to me.”
"I speak the language, and I’ve been able to direct them towards resources that I’ve used or that I know about,” James explains.
The job James is referring to is at Northern Light Acadia Hospital where he now works as a Behavioral Health Home Care Coordinator. What’s unique about his position with Northern Light Acadia Hospital is that he is working specifically with a veteran population.
“A lot of them feel comfortable being involved with somebody who’s had a similar experience to them. I speak the language, and I’ve been able to direct them towards resources that I’ve used or that I know about,” James explains.
James has found a new passion and purpose in this position. He’s found a new way to honor the service of veterans by connecting them to services designed to help them, now that they are back at home.
“I’m grateful for this position and everybody here at Acadia, I think they do wonderful work for the community. Everybody here is so caring and so giving, and they put their heart into what they do.”
Did you know?
In Northern Light Health’s ongoing efforts to employ more veterans, we continue to be involved with the United States Army’s Partnership for Youth Success (PaYS) program. The PaYS program provides soldiers and ROTC cadets a guaranteed job interview and an opportunity to explain how their military experience can contribute to our mission. Northern Light Health also participates in the Maine Hire-A-Vet campaign, where organizations from across the state are asked to hire 100 vets in 100 days collectively. Also, our talent acquisition team recently completed training on hiring veterans with the Maine Department of Labor.