George Putnam has a busy schedule. As a student at Northern Virginia Community College, he’s currently working towards his degree in Information Technology Security. He is well advanced in Karate, and volunteers his time with the Loudoun County Therapeutic Riding Foundation and Wounded Warrior Project. Add to the mix that George is a former member of the Military Police and veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom, and you have a determined young man, willing to give 110% to everything he does. When he heard about an opportunity to combine his military experience and technical expertise into an internship with the Ritz Carlton in Tyson’s Corner, he jumped at the opportunity. What began as an interview with Aurora lead to an internship and now a part-time job with the Ritz. As his Aurora internship came to end, he took some time to meet with Aurora’s staff and his Director at the Ritz Carlton, Tom Sweatt, to discuss the journey thus far.
“When I first left the military, I had one really hard year.” George initially had difficulty finding a job, recalling during his Aurora interview an early experience he had with a local coffee shop. “I wore a suit to interview, while others who were interviewing for the same job wore jeans. I wanted to be professional no matter what, but thought maybe I was just missing something.” After enrolling in Northern Virginia Community College and working as a bouncer, George began to find a rhythm again. “I started to realize the importance of giving back, especially to wounded vets who were having trouble, like me.” George began volunteering with the Loudoun County Therapeutic Riding Foundation, and found that working with horses was one of the most relaxing things he could’ve done after experiencing Afghanistan. Along with training in Karate, George’s life was getting busier by the day, but he needed to begin concentrating on finding a job similar to his personal career interests. So enter Aurora and Ritz Carlton, and George took his first step towards an internship in the hospitality industry.
In support of the Aurora Foundation’s mission, which is to enable student veterans to successfully graduate from college and enter the workforce, the Foundation assists student veterans with the identification of full-time, paid internship opportunities in various fields and industries. Student veterans have the opportunity to gain valuable work experience in their areas of interest and gain insight into the civilian workforce. To date, the Aurora Foundation has graduated 17 interns across a variety of industries, including National Security, Finance/Banking, Law, IT, and Marketing. To learn how you can apply for an internship or sponsor one of our student veterans, please contact Ellen Hembree, Internship Coordinator at Ellen.Baumgardner@Aurora4vets.org.