Meet David Kabak, 2020 VetsWork AmeriCorps Intern!

I noticed the Mt. Adams Institute VetsWork opportunity during a research for jobs while planning a move nearby a National Forest. It seemed like a good fit with my plans to further my education in the field of forestry.

I’m looking forward to the experience and getting back on track to a career in the great outdoors.

Meet Chris Olsted, 2020 VetsWork AmeriCorps Intern!

Hello! I’m here because I wanted a fun, educational way to give my career in anthropology a kick-start. I have always been an extremely curious and outgoing person, even as a child. My father was in the Army, and though we happily lived off base, his ongoing reassignments to different states meant that I had to learn to adapt fast, make friends fast, and learn new environments quickly. While I was a huge fan of ecology, biology, and especially herpetology (reptiles) and bugs, I was drawn into archaeology through a combination of urban exploration and my dad’s NatGeo subscription. Since my friends and I tended to prefer the outdoors, we visited places that were forgotten, abandoned, or reclaimed by nature. It was a risk, but we always stayed as safe as possible, and we respected our ‘job site’ by taking only pictures, and leaving only footprints. As my love for exploration grew, I contributed to a growing online community, sharing stories and finding out about new places to explore. On one foray, we found some evidence of a ghost town in the Pine Barrens of NJ, and the research I did into the town’s history was just as rewarding as the pictures and scant artifacts we recovered. Piecing together real human experiences from the past was better than any puzzle or video game! I was heartbroken when those sites were closed down. They represented a wealth of real information about the places we explored, and the lost stories of the people who lived there.

My later experiences running a small science museum while in college also helped to teach me to work well with kids. I had already developed a talent for breaking down complex concepts ‘Barney style’, thanks to my time in the Marines. Then, I changed my entire approach to studying. I rewired myself to learn new subjects as if I had to teach them to a 5-year old. It seems silly, but it was effective! I got amazing feedback from parents of kids who visited my museum, or who came with me on one of my kayak tours. Some kids got way too excited and started pestering their parents with too many questions, just like I did as a kid (and still do!). Igniting that love of learning in a kid is one of those things that makes any amount of effort and study feel worthwhile, and so I’m interested in museum studies or education.

Meet Adam Hale, 2020 VetsWork AmeriCorps Intern!

I was raised on a small farm in Mount Vernon, KY where I was one of 18 siblings. We raised cows, horses, pigs, chickens, and had a big vegetable garden. I grew up pretty poor but very proud and was taught the value of hard work, dedication, commitment, honesty, and loyalty, and still hold those characteristics today. From the time I was old enough to walk I was taught to do things for myself; construction and masonry work, raising or hunting my own food, vehicle maintenance and repair, financial management, etc. I love hunting, fishing, trapping, camping, kayaking, hiking, etc. and try and do these every chance I get.

I went to school in Rockcastle County, KY and college at Eastern Kentucky University where I studied environmental science, wildlife resources, turf grass management, land judging, tree species ID, small engines repair, improv speaking, etc. But my true calling was to serve and fight for my country so I enlisted in the United States Marine Corps with my primary job as an Infantryman where I served all across the globe in many environments. I had various other classified specialties as well. I was retired this year due to injuries sustained but am looking forward to continued service of my community and preserving the heritage of our national forest and for that reason among others I am excited to be on board with the Mt. Adams Institute.

Meet Shane Tullos, 2020 VetsWork AmeriCorps Intern!

My name is Shane Tullos. I live in the heart of the piney woods of east Texas in the Davy Crockett National Forest with my wife of ten years and our five-year-old son. I grew up and attended school in Rusk, Texas. I enlisted in the U.S. Army while still attending high school. After graduating I began my first enlistment in 2000 as a track mechanic, but later my position changed to include combat engineer. During this time I experienced my first tour in Iraq for the initial invasion and push through the country. After returning home and my term ended, I re-enlisted with the U.S. Army four years later as an Infantryman and served a second tour in Iraq providing security throughout the elections and rebuilding of their government, finishing my 2nd enlistment in 2011.


I am hoping to gain the knowledge needed to become a forester in Texas. I have always had a love for being outdoors hunting, fishing, camping, riding horses, or even working outside in the woods. So I believe this opportunity will be very fitting to my homegrown country raised roots and my desire to make a career out of my love of being and enjoying the outdoors!

Meet Melissa Gattrell, 2020 VetsWork AmeriCorps Intern!

Growing up on a farm in Pennsylvania instilled in me a strong respect and understanding of the importance of taking care of the land. That respect and love for natural things grew when I moved to California at the age of 18 to become an adventure guide. I took groups backpacking, rock climbing and whitewater rafting. My playground has always been mountains, rivers and the ocean and I feel great importance in helping others see the value of wild places.

I attended Appalachian Bible College and studied recreation management. After college, I worked in outdoor education and adventure guiding until I joined the Coast Guard in 2013. My military experience was a great way to learn more about the ocean and serve the community through search and rescue. I had always been interested in the Forest Service and after my time in the military I wanted to get back into the recreation industry. The VetsWork program seemed like the perfect fit. I’m excited about how this internship will open doors for me into a career in the Forest Service.

Meet Chris Stevens, 2020 VetsWork AmeriCorps Intern!

I was born in Washington State and lived there until the age of five. Then I moved to Arizona and lived there for a total of 22 years. When I was 20 I joined the United States Army and was stationed at Fort Hood, Texas. During that time I spent one year deployed in Afghanistan working in the aviation field. Between 2014 (which is when I left the military) and now, I have lived in Arizona, Colorado, and Washington State. During my time living in Colorado, I developed a passion for camping. My friends and I would park our cars at the bottom of the mountain and hike 3-4 plus miles up. The majority of the time we would camp where there was still snow and never even needed to bring our own water.

One of my main goals in life is to one day have a career that allows me to live and work in the country side. I would love to live near my family in Washington between Portland, OR and Seattle, WA in Lewis County. I have lived in the city the majority of my life and have realized that the country is where my heart belongs. I have decided that this program through Mt. Adams Institute would be the perfect opportunity to make my dreams come true and I have been nothing but excited to start. I’m hoping to gain knowledge of being a land surveyor as an intern. I have never had an opportunity like this and will do nothing but to prove that I have what it takes.

Meet Tue Gillen, 2020 VetsWork AmeriCorps Intern!

I’m Tue Gillen. Before I was assigned to the Cordova Ranger District, I worked as a restorer for eighteen months, and as a substitute schoolteacher on and off for three years. Originally from Kansas City, Missouri, I’m surprisingly acclimated to the cold weather here. Because of my experience working in an abandoned mine turned tourist attraction (, I’m used to being in a rugged environment where you learn as you go. My experience in the Navy as an Operations Specialist has given me a good read of charts (maps).

What do I plan to get out of the experience? Simultaneous service to the country and service to the environment. It will be cold, wet, isolated … and I believe I have a duty to work in it because not many others can handle it. I want to break into the environmental field, and getting my hands dirty is all part of the lineup. Cold, wet, exhausting … I’m looking forward to it.