A McKinstry Veteran Commemorates Memorial Day

John Livingston is a functional training program manager for our Service team. John served in the Navy for 21 years and found McKinstry through a Hiring Our Heroes Fellowship. In addition to his role, John serves as co-leader of the McKinstry Veterans Alliance where he supports fellow Veterans in their transitions to post-military life and careers. Learn what inspired John to join the Navy and how he commemorates Memorial Day:

As a child, John was captivated by his grandfather’s tales of his Navy service, ferrying soldiers to and from Pearl Harbor during World War II. Inspired by this legacy and that of his uncles who also served, John joined the Navy after high school where he was a submarine torpedoman and a trainer to his fellow naval colleagues. Like his grandfather before him, John was also stationed for a time in Pearl Harbor where he served on two submarines and on shore duty at the submarine training center.

“There’s such rich history at Pearl Harbor, so being able to experience it and in a way walk in the footsteps of my grandfather really set the stage for how involved I am with observing Memorial Day and supporting and giving back to the Veteran community in any way that I can.”

John has observed the holiday and honored his grandfather’s memory in numerous ways over the years. He’s participated in the Memorial Day wreath-laying ceremony on the USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor and paid respects at the 9/11 Memorial at Rotary Park on the Kitsap Peninsula.

“To me, Memorial Day is a time to remember that sacrifice, both for the ones we’ve lost, but also for those who are able to come home and still serve their communities today,” said John.

This year, John is honoring those who’ve served by beautifying Ivy Green Cemetery in his home of Bremerton, Washington. Along with his two children, John helped prepare the site for a Memorial Day ceremony sponsored by the local Veterans of Foreign Wars organization.

“I hope to deepen the respect my kids have for those who freely give to a cause bigger than themselves and the respect and remembrance of the brave men and women that didn’t make it back home. It’s important to show their loved ones that their sacrifice was not in vain.”

A New Chapter at McKinstry 

Like his grandfather who followed his naval enlistment with a career in the space program, John transitioned from the Navy to civilian employment. John’s experience teaching his naval colleagues translated well to the career he’s held for nearly two years following his Hiring Our Heroes fellowship building the functional training program for our Service line of business.

“Training military colleagues to operate, maintain and troubleshoot mechanical systems sparked an interest in me for teaching; I love seeing light bulbs go off for people,” said John. “This training aspect was really what I was looking for in a second career and the role I have at McKinstry closely met that ideal. I feel super blessed to have a position in a company that that I admire and a role that’s satisfying to me.”

John serves as co-leader of the McKinstry Veterans Alliance where he values the opportunity to support his fellow Veterans in their transitions to post-military life and careers.

“When I retired from military service, the best resources I had were people who had done this before me and were able to give those lessons learned; I wanted to give back in that way myself,” said John.

In addition to providing support and resources to Veterans working at McKinstry, the Veterans Alliance connects with Veteran’s groups and initiatives in the community. McKinstry has hired many Veterans over the years through programs such as Hiring Our Heroes and FourBlock.

“We may or may not always get a new hire from these experiences,” said John. “But to me, and I think to most of the other Veterans in our Alliance, when we’re able to share stories of our transition experience with service members who are separating or retiring that’s a huge win for them and a light at the end of the tunnel they can navigate toward.”

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