VetsWork: Crossing a Bridge to a New Opportunity

My name is Julio Larregui. I joined the Marines right out of high school in 1998. After four years of active duty, I joined the Army Reserves. Since then, it has not been easy to find work, especially living in Puerto Rico. Most of the positions I come across require specific experience and my only experience is in the military. About two months ago, I moved to Florida to start my internship. My position is a trail infrastructure development specialist located in Tallahassee, FL. Ever since the first day of my internship, it has been a wonderful experience. I am already gaining experience that I will need for future employment. I have learned a lot and have completed a few courses like chainsaw certification, bridge inspection, and climbing, all of which are very important for my position.

It has been a great experience getting to travel and explore while building trails. It is very satisfying knowing that I helped build sections of the Florida National Scenic Trail that hikers and families will travel on while enjoying the beautiful National Forests of Florida. I also have had the opportunity to reconstruct old bridges on the trail that did not pass inspection. The following photos show the process of tearing down and rebuilding bridges on the trail.

Recently, I went to my first POD meeting in South Carolina where I camped out with other VetsWork AmeriCorps interns from the southeast region. We camped at the Cherry Hill Campground in the Sumter National Forest where we made a campfire and ate s’mores. We also talked about our progress and shared a lot of valuable information that was helpful for all of us.

I have been very grateful for this opportunity since our first day of orientation in Tennessee. It has been a great experience and I am looking forward to what’s next.