CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Several local organization are committed to hiring veterans and serving the community.
For instance, Corpus Christi’s police department has a string veteran presence. More than a quarter of CCPD officers served in the military, and while they all have their own experiences, their stories are similar.
“As police officers we're servant leaders.,” said Asst. Chief David Blackmon. “We're there to assist our public, our community, our family.”
Finding a veteran among the CCPD officers isn't hard. All you have to do is start at the top.
“If it wears a uniform, it falls underneath me,” said Blackmon.
Blackmon has been with the department 32 years, and if it were up to him, he'd have joined sooner.
“I knew that getting out of high school that I wanted to do something where I was serving my community,” said Blackmon. “I wanted to be a police officer, unfortunately my age prohibited me from doing that.”
Instead, Blackmon joined the U.S. Army, served as a cavalry scout for the National Training Center's opposition force.
“We would be the enemy when other divisions came out,” said Blackmon. “You want to make sure that you're on your A-game, that you're bringing everything you can to the fight because their lives may depend on it.”
Roughly 176 veterans are among the department’s 470 officers.
“The number of veterans we have in this department, they all have stories to tell,” said Blackmon.
Stories like Sr. Ofc. Josie Orsak’s.
“The reason I decided to go Airborne is that I was afraid of heights,” said Orsak. “My first jump I was so scared, I probably cried right before I went out the door.”
Orsak has been with the department 16 years, now working as a K-9 officer. Her story is similar to Blackmon's.
“I’ve always wanted to be a police officer, but I could not be a police officer at 18,” she said.
Instead, Orsak also joined the U.S. Army and served with the 82nd Airborne Division. She says it's inspiring to work alongside so many fellow veterans.
“It's kind of like we have a bond,” said Orsak. “We've all been through the same things, or similar instances.”
“In hindsight, it was probably one of the best decisions I've made,” Blackmon said of joining the military.
While both Blackman and Orsak were in the U.S. Army, CCPD’s veterans represent all four branches, Chief Mike Markle, a former medic, among them.