Larry Lloyd is a GoRail organizer who has worked to educate community leaders in many states about the benefits of moving more freight by rail. He also continues to serve our country in the Army Reserve. As we all celebrate the sacrifices of the men and women serving our country, we asked Larry a few questions about the connection between railroads and our nation’s armed forces.
GoRail: Talk a little bit about your military experience.
LL: I have served in the Army for a total of 12 years. Four active duty as an infantry squad leader and the rest in the Army Reserve, currently as a Staff Sergeant and Civil Affairs Team Leader. While on active duty I was stationed in South Korea for a year and deployed as a part of Operation Iraqi Freedom with the 101st Airborne Division for a year. Last year I deployed to Uganda with my Civil Affairs Team. We supported the Ugandan Peoples Defense Forces (UPDF) military operations in Somalia in order to defeat al-Shabaab. We did this by strengthening the UPDF’s collaborative civil military operations, military-to-military activities, and building partnerships with civil society.
GoRail: What do you do now at GoRail?
LL: I lead GoRail’s education and advocacy efforts across much of the Midwest and get to work with our hundreds of state-wide partners and community leaders across the region. We all work to promote the benefits of record rail investment – economic development and job creation, cleaner and more efficient freight transport and moving the nation toward energy independence.
GoRail: What is the most important skill you took from your time in the military and how does it translate into the work you do now?
LL: There are many but the one that stands out in my mind is determination. As the Soldier’s Creed states we always place the mission first, never accept defeat and keep ourselves physically and mentally tough. That is a quality that someone is not born with. It has to be developed and few places do it better than the military.
GoRail: Would you recommend the rail industry for someone just finishing military service? Why?
LL: Railroads are a great opportunity for anyone retiring from the military. All the more so I think for members of the Reserve and Guard. GoRail has been reflective of the rest of the rail industry in seeing my military service as something that makes me even better at my civilian job. Their support has been better than I could have asked for. That is why I nominated GoRail for and they received the Patriot Award from Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve.
GoRail: What is the rail industry doing to encourage the hiring of veterans?
LL: The rail industry has been unmatched in its drive to seek out and hire veterans. Their partnership with the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, and with the White House Joining Forces Initiative makes railroads front and center in the eyes of current service members. The men and women I serve with mention their recruiting efforts often. In fact, the rate at which railroads are hiring people with military service has allowed them to exceed their 2012 commitment under the Joining Forces Program. This means that nearly one-in-four of every new railroad hire has military service.
At GoRail, part of our job is to help educate the public about importance rail plays in our daily lives. The rail record on veterans hiring is something I’m proud to share.
We at GoRail are honored to work alongside Larry and are humbled by the sacrifices by all our brave men and women serving our nation in the military. Please join us in thanking all veterans for their service.