I was 17 when 9/11 happened and I had to get parental consent to join the Army National Guard. My grandfather inspired me to take part. He was a World War II veteran and served in the US Navy in the Pacific Fleet. He was at Pearl Harbor and part of the occupying forces in Japan. He was the kind of man who would look someone in the eye, shake their hand, and do what they promised – that was his military service, and I admired that about him.
I joined the National Guard in June 2002 and after graduating from high school in 2003 I went to basic training. I was a 63 Sierra, that’s a big wheel mechanic. I joined the 1-128th Infantry from Eau Claire, Wisconsin and was deployed twice, in 2004-2005 and 2009-2010.
Jake Ramsey as part of a convoy on his first tour of duty in Iraq, 2004.
Between deployments, I took firefighting courses and joined the Military Funeral Honors Program for the Wisconsin Army National Guard. When I returned to the US after 2010, I decided to graduate from Trinity International University with my Montgomery GI Bill and enter the corporate world. A few years later I met a member of the Walgreens team at a Trinity alumni event and she got me a job in May 2016.
Jake Ramsey, left, and friend Benny in Iraq in 2005.
Fast forward to today, I’ve been with Walgreens for almost seven years. I work as a Senior Analyst, Program Setup and Maintenance, which means I work with hospitals, clinics and health centers to set them up with Walgreens services related to the state discount drug program. I spend most of my day calling customers, sifting through reports for insights on how to support a customer’s program, and making internal calls related to improving systems and finding solutions to challenging case studies. The best are the people. While I’m in the build-up phase of the platform, I get to know the customers over several months or sometimes years. I love helping people and knowing that the rebate drug program I help implement is being used for patients across the US
On a typical day, I wake up at 6 a.m. and do my daily Bible devotional before making breakfast. Honestly, God gets all the glory. I survived Iraq twice which tested my faith but I am still alive and I owe him for guiding me through many difficult and life threatening scenarios. He has fulfilled many of my wife’s and I’s wishes: a family, children, a job that supports our lifestyle. My wife is a Saint and homeschools our 8, 5 and 3 year olds and cares for our 18 month old.
I start work between 7am and 7:30am. I’m spoiled for working from home a lot and my kids now know that there’s no talking to dad when dad puts on his headset. I can have lunch with my family when they are home and schedules match. I want to end my day between 3:30pm and 5:00pm. That depends on when I start and what my workload is—the department I work in has federal-level quarterly reporting periods, and those days can be long.
In the evenings I ask my wife and children about their periods. We go for walks and play outside and sometimes I go for a run. I’ve run in high school, in the army, and in college, and I try to get in two to three runs a week. Once the kids are in bed my wife and I will try to catch a show on TV before we go to bed at 9pm
It brought back a lot because we speak a common language. There are many jokes about the industry. The most rewarding part of joining was the service to others. We send information to people about how they can get care through the VA or other programs if they have someone in their family they need care for. It’s not just veterans. It helps everyone who has any kind of affiliation. And you don’t have to be a veteran to join. This is the largest plug. It’s for everyone.