Navy veteran Thomas Blackburn drove tractor-trailers for 10 years after he got out of the service in 1994. When his truck was hit by another big rig he spent some time during his recuperation deciding if he wanted to go back to driving as a career.
“A lot of the problems the Veterans Administration was having started to become front page news at that time,” Blackburn said. “That’s when I decided I wanted to do something to help veterans improve their lives.”
The Portsmouth, Ohio, native and his wife were living in Columbus but moved to Lorain County four years ago to be closer to their children and their grandchildren. “We didn’t want to miss them growing up,” he said.
He also found Lorain County Community College where he earned an associate of applied science degree in public administration. Blackburn also got involved with other activities that would prepare him to work with veterans, including a job as student worker in the LCCC Veterans and Military Service Members Center.
From there he worked in the enrollment services area assisting veterans as well. This work included participating on the Veterans Programming and Advisory committee on campus and partnering with the Lorain County Veterans Service Office and Veterans Administration on events and activities to aid veterans.
“These and other out-of-class experiences were quite valuable and had an impact on my career path after graduation,” Blackburn said.
Shortly after graduating last May, Blackburn started working as a Veterans Service Officer with the Lorain County Veterans Service Office. He has also earned his state certification as a County Veterans Service Officer.
“When I began at LCCC, I knew I wanted to help veterans in some way but I wasn’t exactly sure in what capacity,” he said. “As I went along I became more interested in directly aiding them, to make sure they got the benefits they earned through their service to our nation.”