Another Veteran highlight from one of our awesome clients Mark Graham. We are continually amazed by the service and dedication of our veteran clients and love sharing their stories.
Mark is originally from Billings, MT – Mark Graham served in the Military for 47 years! He retired in his hometown of Billings, Montana just over 2 years ago. He and his wife Lydia just bought a home in the Josephine Crossing neighborhood and are loving the adjustment to retired life. See more of his story below!
When and why did you join the military?
“Vietnam was going pretty hot and heavy, so when I graduated from high school in 1970, I enlisted as quickly as I could. I was 18 years old, and joined the Airforce by August of that year. My dream was to go into pararescue, but while in basic training I failed the exam from color-blindness, so I went into communications analysis. I spent my whole career in communication.”
He was deployed to South Korea 3 different times for a total of 7 years where he served as intercept analysis. He served in his enlisted career until 1990 (about 20 years) when he retired from active duty and entered civil service with the Airforce in 1992.
What was your most memorable moment from your time in the Military?
“In 2003, I was nominated and chosen as Civilian of the Year on the South Dakota Ellsworth Airforce Base. My master sergeant nominated me and I was so honored to receive the award as recognition for my work. As part of the reward, I even won a trip for my wife and I to go to Tuscon, AZ.”
Mark has also received the Lifetime Achievement Award in Safety, signed by the director of the Department of Defense. This award recognizes a lifetime of work with Red Cross with over 10,000 hours of volunteer work. His volunteer time includes everything from teaching swimming instructors to acting as shelter manager during hurricanes.
When did you retire and what are you up to now?
Mark retired in January of 2018 after serving for 47 years in the military – amazing. He and his wife Lydia, of 7 years, purchased a new home in Billings, MT in the new development of Josephine Crossing.
He remarks that “I spend an awful lot of time in my man cave. Doing a lot of research. I am knowledge seeker in all aspects. Currently, I am working on getting set up to do some fishing”
He hasn’t spent much time fishing in the past, but he says it’s never too late to learn. He’s even getting a truck camper rig set up so he can take a road trip across Montana this spring and get some fishing in!
As another retirement project, Mark even built Lydia what he calls a “sheshed” to fuel her gardening passion! He says you’ll recognize their house in the spring if you drive by with the gorgeous flowers planted by Lydia.
We are so honored to serve those who serve. We value our relationship with Mark and are so glad to be on this journey with him to steward his retirement dreams and goals! Can’t wait to see some fishing pictures this spring!