At 18 years old, Thomas Holt thought he had his future planned out — he was all set to attend college on a baseball scholarship. But, at the last minute, he made a change of plans.

“I realized that I didn’t know if that was the route I wanted to go,” said Holt. “I wanted to challenge myself and find out what my mental and physical limits were.”

Thomas Holt served in the Marine Corps from 1996 – 2000.

At the encouragement of his father and his uncle, a veteran, Holt went to a recruiter to discuss joining the United States Marine Corps. That was on a Monday. By Friday, he was boarding a plane for training at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in Parris Island, South Carolina.

Holt described his military experience as an exciting, non-stop adventure. During his four years as a sergeant, he traveled to 50 countries, toured the White House with the president, and served at the Pentagon under a four-star general. But, it wasn’t without challenges.

“I got to do a lot of amazing things, but it was hard to be that young and to be away from my family,” said Holt. “However, there’s a really supportive aspect that I like about the military – you’re never really without family even though you’re gone.” The bonds Holt formed with his fellow servicemen remain to this day; he joked that he speaks to them more than his own brothers.

After leaving the military, Holt transitioned into working for a former Commandant in a public relations role with United Service Organizations (USO). Connections such as this, he said, were what helped him to build his career.

“Being in the military helped me grow up and understand hard work,” said Holt. “And for people who aren’t ready to go to college, it shows that there are other avenues out there that will help them be successful.”

In the year that Holt has been with OUC as an executive assistant, he has continued to celebrate his military roots, frequently attending community events in representation of OUC’s veteran workforce.

“I feel very supported here,” said Holt. “And, not only does OUC sponsor its own employees who are veterans, but other veterans’ organizations as well.”

Although he’s happily settled into civilian life, would Holt go back if given the chance? Absolutely, he said.

“It is challenging and tough,” said Holt, “but it’s also one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done.”

Thomas is part of the 10 percent of OUC’s workforce comprised of veterans. At OUC, we’re committed to offering opportunities for success and quality of life to individuals who currently give or have provided service to the United States Armed Forces. To our own veterans and to all who have served, we thank you.