James Cash

My name is James Cash. I was raised in a rural, hard-working, dependable and family oriented setting. I attended public schools and was also home schooled by my family to supplement my education. I decided to enlist into the Marine Corps in the Spring of 2008 since it provided skills that would further me to my personal goals around community protection and safety. The Marines also provided a good structure that helped me gain discipline and fitness.

I was deployed to Afghanistan under the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marines Fox Company as a Machine/Turret Gunner as a part of the Commanding Officer's personal detachment. While deployed I also cross trained in several support Military Occupational Specialties since the company was in dire need of this expertise. In addition to this, I also took on the responsibility of the Company Police Sergeant to refurbish and build the combat outpost, establish a higher force protection / security posture and assist the Afghan National Police as well as coordination of all supply drops within our combat zone.

I was Honorably discharged in the Winter of 2011. While in the service I received many citations and awards, some of which are: Good Conduct, Sea Service Deployment, Afghanistan Campaign, Global War on Terrorism, National Defense, Navy Meritorious Unit, NATO Medal-ISAF Afghanistan, Rifle Expert Badge (3rd Award).

After the service I've considered using the GI bill to further my education but like many others before me, I've found the process to be confusing and difficult to navigate. I also have been working closely with several law enforcement groups in order to gain employment by conducting ride-alongs with the local police department. Despite my security clearances, good conduct and arms discipline, I would later find out that the police department felt that it was risky to field a combat veteran as a civilian police officer. After a year of close cooperation with the department and applying for positions, the only offer of employment I would receive was as a dispatcher.

While employed under the police department and with the support of my family, I began to meet many people that assisted me in helping transition further into civilian life by allowing me to work with them in various positions. I also began to volunteer with other law enforcement agencies and with philanthropic causes (such as animal rescue) which led to me being offered a position as a Reserve Sheriff's Deputy as a volunteer.

I'd been speaking with the people of VeterHands for several years as they navigated the not-for-profit certification and they contacted me once their initial projects had been funded. I've experienced the frustration of a fractured veterans support system, so I've been eager to help them work our their initial operations so we could build good roadmaps for other veterans getting out of the service. I'm aware that a lot of veterans have not been afforded the same opportunity of support from family and community that I have and I want to help fill that gap for them by working with VeterHands. I'll be helping them to establish the VeterHands PADI DiveMaster College with a company in Cozumel, Mexico who they've partnered with - Aldora Divers and I'm excited to gain Diving, Rescue and Leadership skills which I can use to gain employment and further myself personally.

I want to better the lives of family, friends and fellow veterans and continue to grow personally through education and skills training.