Timibu radiates strength and determination as he speaks. He talks about his time in the Navy, immediately following the Desert Storm conflict.  He says it was a great experience and adventure, as he saw much of the world and has lasting memories, which will be with him all his life.

While in the Navy, Timibu served on an amphibian helocraft carrier – a ship that carried Marines and helicopters.  Their mission was preparedness; his carrier performed what was called “gator squares” at sea, drills and maneuvers that would ensure they were ready for combat.

When he returned to civilian life, he rejoined the workforce when he learned he had to have major surgery. Fortunately, his employment qualified him for short-term disability benefits. He was out of work while recovering for twelve weeks. Timibu was not having success with his independent job search. He reached out to the “unemployment office” (Forsyth County NCWorks Career) for help in finding employment.  It was through his employment counselor there that he was referred to Goodwill’s Veterans Services program.

When asked about his experiences with Veterans Services, he says it was great; as both Michelle Bulla and Sandy Jolley supported him and were invaluable coaches in very different ways! He describes Michelle Bulla as the “backbone of the program,” as she is the person who gets “down in the trenches with the veterans she supports.

Timibu defines Sandy Jolley as the “lead officer in the chain of command,” the person who could make things happen at a higher level.  He says Sandy is the chief – a great communicator who knows how to tap into the many resources available to veterans – and who knows the people on the “inside” who can also make things happen. He observes that it was like being in the Service again!

He also says that it was his experiences with the Veterans Services Program (specifically Sandy and Michelle) that enabled him to recognize that what he wants to do with his life is help people, especially veterans who served their country but did not see combat.  He observes that there are abundant resources and programs to support veterans who were in combat, but few that serve those who didn’t, as he learned when returning to civilian life.

Timibu credits Sandy Jolley for making funding available so that he could begin realizing his dream of getting the credentials required to enable him to serve former veterans, beginning with taking advantage of a Peer Support Training program. While completing the required course in this curriculum, Timibu comments that Michelle Bulla was also motivated to complete the course to add to her credentials!

Timibu’s ultimate goal is to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Services or Counseling to enable him to earn the credentials required to become a professional counselor. He says it’s hard to break into the field with only a Peer Support Counseling credential.

In the meantime, he was employed but recently laid off, so is now actively looking for full-time employment again; so he can continue his educational and career tracks.

When asked what kind of advice he would offer to other veterans, Timibu says he would tell them to “Go to Goodwill,” where they will find a Veterans Services program that will provide the resources and support they need.  He also says he would tell them this program is great, but they would have to also be proactive; if they want it, they have to work for it, just like being in the Service!

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