The Last Commute
As I rode the train into Manhattan this morning, I couldn’t help but to think back to nearly four years ago and another bright, sunny day. Then, I was headed to a small office just north of Herald Square to interview for a brand new position.
Despite its small size, the name on the door was anything but: Bob Woodruff Foundation. And it didn’t take long to discover just how “big” of a role it would be after being hired as the foundation’s new communications manager.
I drafted two press releases, chatted with Kensington Palace, and wrote Bob Woodruff’s welcoming remarks and introduction of Prince Harry, for a Foo Fighter’s concert that kicked off the inaugural Invictus Games—all in my first week.
Over the years, I would write countless talking points and speeches for Bob, Lee Woodruff, board members and our executive director, Anne Marie Dougherty. This included scripting one of New York’s most anticipated fundraising and awareness events of each year, Stand Up for Heroes.
At times, it was a bit overwhelming writing for the Woodruffs; after all, they are well-known, respected journalists, public speakers and authors. I can’t express how proud it made me feel to have Lee tell me that I “got their voice.”
My favorite part of the job has always been storytelling—through blog posts, annual reports, photos and video. I was fortunate to have articles and digital assets picked up and used by media outlets. Many of these experiences have rivaled those of my time working as a military journalist in the Marine Corps, none more so than the Walk Of Britain.
It’s not often that one gets to spend a week hiking with a team of wounded veterans from both our countries, let alone across Wales. Somehow, I survived Mount Snowdon and nearly a hundred more miles after. Despite the blisters, hearing and sharing their stories was beyond inspiring. And just a few days ago, I had the good fortune of reuniting with one of them in Los Angeles for the start of the Walk Of America.
Every job has its ups and downs, but the moments I have spent with fellow veterans—especially those recovering from the wounds of war—have always helped put things into perspective. How can I complain when watching someone climb a mountain on a prosthetic leg, or compete against other athletes at events like Warrior Games?
My time at the Bob Woodruff Foundation has taught me so much about a community that asks for very little, despite the sacrifices it has made. It has been an honor to play a small role in helping ensure that our nation’s veterans and their families have access to the resources they need to succeed—which I truly believe makes our nation better.
Over the years, the team here has grown a little and so has the office. And while it often seems that we live in divisive times, it’s been a pleasure watching my coworkers unite around a common cause. Like me, some are connected to the military. Others, just believe in doing good for others. I’m proud to say the name on the door is bigger than ever.
As I write this, I can’t help but to feel a mix of emotions. Today’s train ride was my last commute into the city for the foundation. Tomorrow, I will take on a new challenge as I’ve been named the first-ever communications director for the Shepherd Higher Education Consortium on Poverty.
Yet before I depart, I just want to express my sincere gratitude to Anne Marie and the entire BWF team for their support and friendship over these years. Bob and Lee, I can’t tell you enough what an honor it has been to be entrusted with your voice.
While this is a bittersweet goodbye, I’m sure our paths will cross again … thank you Bob Woodruff Foundation for investing in the next chapter of this veteran’s life.