How AF resources helped my family

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Colin Cates
  • 49th Wing Public Affairs
I closed the U-Haul door, locked the latch, and was ready to hit the road. This was the beginning of the end of my life as a civilian and as a single man. I was off to start my life in the U. S. Air Force with my new wife right by my side. We had condensed our life to the size of a U-Haul truck. She was leaving behind her amazing career, kids, family and all she had known to start a new life with me.

I pulled through the gates of my new home, at Holloman AFB. I was feeling excited and nervous. I knew we both had many challenges ahead of us. I was only an airmen 1st class, so financially our lifestyle was going to change a lot from the life we had back home when we were a dual income family. I knew there would be some rough days, but as long as we could get though the growing pains of this new lifestyle, we would be just fine.

As I learned the ins and outs of being a new Airman, my wife was left with the responsibility of taking care of everything else, most importantly finding a job. She now had the difficult task of finding not just any job, but one that would help support our household and give her the opportunity to fly her kids out here regularly. Having run a successful company for the last six years, she felt confident that her job experience, confident attitude, and drive would land her a job in no time. After months of filling out applications and unsuccessful interviews, the reality set in quickly that getting a job was not going to be easy at all.

Finally, she decided a small part-time job was better than nothing, since we were really struggling to live on just my income to pay both our bills. She told me it was very hard to go from being the boss of a company to the "low man on the totem pole." I felt she gave all that up for me to follow my dream. I knew I needed to do something to help, and so we decided she should go talk to the Airmen and Family Readiness Center. I knew that the Air Force had these resources available for a reason. The military understands it can very hard to leave everything and just start over.

That trip proved successful. After a few weeks of receiving e-mails of available jobs from the A&FRC, she landed a job interview from a great local company. She was so excited, and after talking to some local Airmen about this company, she realized this would be an amazing job for her. This would not only fix our problem of finding a job to pay our bills, but it also validate the work she was doing that was lacking from her part-time job. After three interviews, she got the amazing news that the job was hers! I was so proud of her for all the hard work she had put into finding a job and never giving up. I was so grateful to the A&FRC for their help in this process. We fought through this hard time together, and now things are looking great for our new life here.

Her new job title is assistant sales rep at a local custom home builder, and she loves it. She is making a very nice salary and learning a new skill set that will help her with future jobs. We can now save for the future, and we were able to buy plane tickets for her boys to come see us over Spring break. Financial security is very important to both of us, and for our marriage, and now that is a reality. We both gave up so much to start this new journey, but now we both have great careers to aim high for. The future is looking better and better every day, and we both know we can count on each other and the Air Force to get through life challenges.