Appreciating our Veterans: SCA Veterans Green Corps

Written by Brian Doughty and Jennifer Swann, SCA Conservation Corps programs.

As Veterans Day approaches and the nation honors the brave men and women from the past and present who have served in the armed forces, it is fitting that we highlight one of SCA’s newest initiatives—the Veterans Green Corps (VGC). 

The ultimate goal of the VGC is to enable former members of the armed services to transition into civilian life by providing job training, personal development, and conservation service opportunities in natural resource and wildland fuels management.

There are currently two SCA VGC teams in Prescott and Springerville, Arizona.  These teams have been in the field since the last week of August and will be wrapping up their service in time to celebrate Thanksgiving with family and friends. 

The teams have been working with U.S. Forest Service wildland fire crews to reduce hazardous fuels in and around urban areas.  Their training included Wildland Fire Fighting, Wilderness First Aid, chainsaw operation, conservation ethics, environmental education, group dynamics, and conflict resolution.  Additionally, the veterans on these teams have enhanced their ability to pursue future employment with the U.S. Forest Service by becoming familiar with U.S. Forest Service history, operations, and hiring procedures – not to mention gaining valuable hands-on experience.

The VGC members on these teams represent a diverse cross section of today’s veterans.  The Corps Members range in age from 22 to 36, come from  all branches of the Armed Services, have attained ranks from Private First Class to First Lieutenant, and have worked in various positions ranging from Combat Infantryman to Submarine and Nuclear Propulsion Technicians. 

These men and women who make up the VGC made the decision to continue their service to their country by exchanging rifles and fatigues for chainsaws and Nomex.  Their experience has been carefully guided by our dedicated staff members Jennifer Swann (and Jill Kolodzne before her), Brian Doughty and Mike Stefancic – with a whole lot of help from others, particularly on the recruiting front. 

Please join SCA in extending our appreciation to all veterans as we observe Veterans Day on Friday, November 11. Thank you to all the Veterans and the service they provide to our nation.

Follow the Prescott National Forest Veteran’s Corps and the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest Veteran’s Corps through their adventures with SCA.