One of our Veterans Day heroes is John Marquez, IDEA Brackenridge Facilities Team Member and veteran. Mr. Marquez joined IDEA in 2019 and was inspired by IDEA scholars to complete his bachelor’s degree after serving in the U.S. Marines.
IDEA Public Schools and the country observe Veterans Day on November 11 in celebration of Team & Family like John Marquez and all the men and women who selflessly protect and serve our country.
What were some of the reasons that you joined the military? How did you choose your branch of service?
I joined the U.S. Military for several reasons, but the main reason is that I wanted to serve my country. When I joined the military back in 1999, college was not for me. It didn’t interest me at all. I wanted to leave home and venture into the world. I love a good challenge, and I wanted to test my limits. Joining the military was the perfect opportunity to improve myself and push myself beyond my limits.
I felt that joining the military was a sense of duty that I had to accomplish no matter the obstacles. I also joined the military for the opportunity to travel across the globe and see different countries and their customs and traditions. I traveled to Australia, Singapore, Thailand, Guam, South Korea, and a few other places.
What are some of the things you remember about adapting to military life?
Running three miles every day, waking up early, and taking the physical fitness test every year. Pull-ups, push-ups, and crunches. The haircuts and shaving of facial hair. There was lots and lots of adapting required; these are only a few.
Where did you serve?
I served in Okinawa, Japan, and Cherry Point, North Carolina. I also served in two wars: Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.
How did you stay in touch with family and friends back home?
I stayed in touch with my family mainly by email and phone calls, but I also used the postal service from time to time. When needed, I would use some of my 30-day leave to go home and be with family. It was so wonderful to see them after being away!
When did you leave the military? What was that process like?
My end of active service was in July 2003, but I had to complete my 4-year Inactive Ready Reserve (IRR). If any conflict broke out and the government needed more troops, they would call me and activate me to active duty and send me to where the conflict was or where help was needed.
What were your first few months out of the service like?
My first few months out of the service were horrible because I wanted to sleep, but my body woke me up at 4:30 am to go run three miles! This lasted for about three years before I adapted to life as a civilian.
When did you join IDEA Public Schools? What inspired you to do so?
I joined IDEA Public Schools in May 2019. What inspired me to join IDEA was the structure that I was already used to back in my military days. I think structure is so important for students to be successful. It helps them build routines that contribute to success in academics and in life. Plus, everybody on campus cares about the students. We’re all in this together.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
What I enjoy most about my job at IDEA is the service to our scholars. They are why we as IDEA staff members are here!