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Paying It Forward: How an Air Force Veteran and FourBlock Alumnus Is Helping Others Transition

The FourBlock Podcast

Release Date: 04/12/2021

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The FourBlock Podcast

“It is not a sense of weakness to ask for help.” A U.S. Army veteran with more than 21 years of service, Santiago Leon knows first-hand the challenges that veterans may face when transitioning back home after the military, and why you shouldn’t make the transition alone. This week on the FourBlock Podcast, he recounts his military experience and shares what it was like to complete multiple deployments with young children at home. Santiago recalls his transition back home, sharing some of the challenges he faced, why it was so hard to admit he needed help, how he eventually found his way...

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“Baseball is the sport of the present moment and of mindfulness.” This week, FourBlock Founder Mike Abrams shares an opinion piece about baseball and how it is the best teacher of mindfulness, slowing down, and living in the present moment. The article, titled , was written by Diane Cameron and published by from the Albany Times-Union upon the start of baseball season in 2018.   ABOUT US Welcome to the FourBlock Podcast, a show that examines veteran career transition and the military-civilian divide in the workplace. General Charles Krulak coined the term "Three Block War" to describe...

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Paying It Forward: How an Air Force Veteran and FourBlock Alumnus Is Helping Others Transition show art Paying It Forward: How an Air Force Veteran and FourBlock Alumnus Is Helping Others Transition

The FourBlock Podcast

On this week's episode of the FourBlock Podcast, we welcome FourBlock alumnus Brian Arrington, USAF (ret), M.S., CEO and Founder of VETS2INDUSTRY LLC and VETS2INDUSTRY Foundation Inc. and a Business Initiatives Consultant with Wells Fargo. Brian joins host Mike Abrams to discuss his 20-year service in the Air Force, his military retirement and transition, and his subsequent work creating to help more veterans and their families get connected with the resources and benefits available to them and to ensure the success of every veteran and their families after military service. VETS2INDUSTRY...

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The FourBlock Podcast

“I’m no different than anyone else. When we go through transition, we go through these cycles of grief, self-pity, doubt, confusion, and all these emotions that are normal – that's human. The challenge is understanding them, embodying them, and rapidly turning them into action. How do I devise a plan to act and move forward?” Hit by a sniper’s bullet at the pinnacle of his military career, U.S. Marine Corps veteran Derek Herrera turned misfortune into his life’s work when he was paralyzed from the chest down. His military career came to a halt, but his life did not. He decided to...

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The FourBlock Podcast

“The real recovery, mentally and psychologically, was being around the people that I wanted to be around doing something of value and doing something of purpose.” Hit by a sniper’s bullet at the pinnacle of his military career, U.S. Marine Corps veteran Derek Herrera turned misfortune into his life’s work when he was paralyzed from the chest down. His military career was over, but his life was not. He decided to leverage his experience with paralysis in the business world, getting a Master of Business Administration and then launching a medical technology business. In this two-part...

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The FourBlock Podcast

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More Episodes

On this week's episode of the FourBlock Podcast, we welcome FourBlock alumnus Brian Arrington, USAF (ret), M.S., CEO and Founder of VETS2INDUSTRY LLC and VETS2INDUSTRY Foundation Inc. and a Business Initiatives Consultant with Wells Fargo.

Brian joins host Mike Abrams to discuss his 20-year service in the Air Force, his military retirement and transition, and his subsequent work creating VETS2INDUSTRY to help more veterans and their families get connected with the resources and benefits available to them and to ensure the success of every veteran and their families after military service. VETS2INDUSTRY provides a free online library that of all the free veteran and dependent resources and Veteran Service Organizations nationwide.

Since founding VETS2INDUSTRY in 2019, nearly 1,000 vetted resources have been added on vets2industry.com, and the community has grown to more than 35,000 followers on LinkedIn alone.

Brian retired in July of 2019 after serving 20 years in the United States Air Force with Robins AFB, GA as his final duty station. His distinguished career led him to deploy to Iraq, Afghanistan, and Qatar and provide humanitarian relief throughout Southeast Asia during the tsunami, Haiti during the earthquake, and in Turkey supporting refugee evacuations during the Israel-Lebanon Mideast Crisis. Brian’s career has taken him to 90 countries and five of the seven continents.

In his last year of 20-years devoted service to the U.S. Air Force, Brian learned there were over 45,000 Veteran Service Organizations nationwide that provided free services and support to U.S. military families and realized a huge gap existed between available free Veteran, Military Spouse, and dependent children resources and benefits and the knowledge of their existence among our nation's heroes and their families.

With this newly discovered knowledge, Brian vowed to eliminate the knowledge gap and ensure the success of every veteran and their families by creating an online library, a free single-site repository of every free Veteran Service Organization to include providing mentorship and information services to each knowledge-seeker.

Since the library’s creation, March 2019, Brian has led VETS2INDUSTRY’s growth by reaching 7,000 veterans and military spouses with over 20,000 page-views and he continues to supply employment opportunity success with the ever-growing grassroots volunteer force of veterans and military spouses he leads.

Brian is married with six children and resides in Atlanta. He is an active alumnus of Centurion Military Alliance, Hiring our Heroes Corporate Fellowship Program, FourBlock, and American Corporate Partners. He volunteers with VETLANTA and the National Black MBA Association Atlanta Chapter, and he is a student veteran leader and student ambassador at Syracuse University where he is currently pursuing his MBA.

He holds two A.A.S. from the Community College of the Air Force, a B.A. in History, a Graduate Certificate in Homeland Security, and a M.S. in Management from Thomas Edison State University and is a certified Georgia State Hostage Negotiator.

ABOUT US

Welcome to the FourBlock Podcast, a show that examines veteran career transition and the military-civilian divide in the workplace.

General Charles Krulak coined the term "Three Block War" to describe the nature of 21st-century military service defined by peace-keeping, humanitarian aid, and full combat.

But what happens next? Veterans are often unprepared to return home and begin new careers. We call this the Fourth Block. 

FourBlock is a national non-profit that has supported thousands of transitioning service members across the nation in beginning new and meaningful careers. 

Mike Abrams (@fourblock) is an Afghanistan veteran, founder of FourBlock, and author of two military transition books. He’ll be representing the military transition perspective.

Lindsey Pollak (@lindsaypollak) is a career and workplace expert and New York Times bestselling author of three career advice books. Lindsey will be representing the civilian perspective of this issue. 

Veterans, explore new industries and make the right connections. Find a career that fits your calling. Join us at fourblock.org/

Sponsor our program or host a class to equip more of our veterans at fourblock.org/donate.


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Podcast episodes are produced and edited by the Columbia University Center for Veteran Transition and Integration.