By: Geno Cutolo, CEO & President, Staffmark Group
One of the things I’m most passionate about as a leader of Staffmark Group is making a difference. Our organization’s vision reflects this goal: we seek to change the world – one life, one job, one community at a time. I truly believe that, together, we can make the world a better place. With this in mind, I’d like to begin sharing stories on our blog that illustrate how we impact lives.
The first story in this series is about Robert, a disabled veteran who was full of despair. His injuries prevented him from being able to do the work he was trained to do. He was scared, at the end of his rope, and was hoping against hope for an opportunity that would ease his worry about his family's future.
A life-changing event
After enlisting in US Marine Corps, Robert was assigned to be “the supply guy,” He explained, “If you were a new Marine, one of the first people you’d see was me. I provided all of the tools and equipment. It was my job to make sure you got everything you needed, and it was my job to make sure you returned everything as well.”
Another part of Robert’s job was to train reservists. Unfortunately, three years after joining the service, Robert was involved in a vehicle collision during a training mission. Several were injured, including Robert. All of the soft tissue was snapped or stretched beyond use in his lower right leg and foot. “It was basically the worst sprained ankle – the granddaddy of all ankle sprains. Somehow, I didn’t break a single bone,” Robert recalled.
After leaving the service, Robert worked in the radio business for a number of years and then became a cell phone tower technician in the early 2000s. The work was physically demanding, which led to subsequent injuries and surgeries. As a result, Robert is unable to stand for long periods of time or sit for long periods of time, limiting his career options.
Robert said, “Every time I’ve taken a job, it’s been temporary until I couldn’t handle the pain.” On top of that, issues with VA claims were preventing Robert from retraining in a different skill set that could accommodate his disability.
From desperation to gratitude
The lack of stability began to wear on Robert, especially after he married his wife in 2012. He now had a family to support, including two teenage boys: “Now I’m desperate, and I’m almost 50. I didn’t know where to turn.”
Robert tried applying to jobs online, with little luck. “The problem is I don’t have a college degree. I’m pretty well read, but I don’t have the paperwork. I’ve got a blue collar resume, and I’m looking for a white collar job – all because I can longer do what I was trained to do,” said Robert.
Then Robert met Matt McGowan, veteran and market manager with Staffmark. Upon learning about Robert’s situation, Matt reached out to the Staffmark-Springdale, OH team and told them Robert’s story. Almost immediately, they were able to identify a great opportunity that accommodated his disability and provided the stability he was seeking.
Within days, Robert interviewed and was offered the job! He now works in the IT department for a national grocery chain, providing support for employees when they have tech issues with the grocery pick-up program – and he absolutely loves it!
One of the things Robert most likes about his job is the people: “In a single day, I hear so many accents, and I get to talk with so many different types of people.”
“I hope I can work this job for the rest of my life, and that’s the first time I’ve said that in twelve years!” exclaimed Robert. “I’m so grateful to the Staffmark team for this opportunity. I would absolutely recommend Staffmark to anyone looking for a job. They have changed my life!”
Thank you for sharing your story, Robert - and thank you for your service to our country!