For the next few days we are sharing stories of a few of our local veterans in an effort to shed light on the issues veterans may encounter in transitioning to the Wood River Valley.
They, and often their families, sacrificed for our freedoms but most of them didn’t stop with military service.
In their selflessness, they give the shirts off their backs to anyone in need before helping themselves. Veterans often see their needs as secondary to the needs of others and are cultured to always be able to carry their own weight without complaint.
That is why we are launching 5B REALTORS for Veterans. Through this new program our community is raising money to provide local vets with sustainable housing assistance. We encourage all Wood River Valley residents to help local heroes by signing up for this Saturday’s 5K Fun Run/Walk at www.5BVeterans.org. Please read each story and share with your network of friends.
To start this series off, we would like to introduce local vet Reid Sanborn.
Can you please tell me a little bit about yourself?
I grew up on Mercer Island, Washington, knowing I wanted to fly planes for a living. I just didn’t know where and how I would do it.
While I was studying at Washington State University, I joined the Reserve Officer Training Corps in August of 2001 with a mission to become a U.S. Air Force pilot. After graduating I was commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Air Force in May 2003.
What were your initial thoughts when you joined the Air Force?
Through initial training I was taught to understand the level of responsibility and leadership required to successfully fulfill my new mission as a pilot. I also understood that it would be a lot of hard work and would require me to relocate around the world a lot.
What are your experiences and dangers you’ve faced as an Air Force pilot?
I have flown all over the world, logged thousands of flight hours, and completed thousands of missions in the F-15E while serving four combat tours in Afghanistan and Libya. Most of it was hard work and very stressful, but it was fun and exhilarating too. Flying jets at twice the speed of sound, or just a couple hundred feet off the ground at 600 knots is a rush. On the other hand I also had to make many life and death decisions, not only for me, but for troops and civilians on the ground. I was honored to have the opportunity not only to serve my country, but also to be a leader as a U.S. Air Force pilot and officer.
When did you leave the Air Force?
I made the decision to complete my military commitment as Major in 2014 after 12 years of honorable service. In the same year, I moved with my wife and son to beautiful #Ketchum, Idaho and we haven’t left since. My wife and I checked out other west coast locations, but in the end Ketchum (and Baldy) won our hearts. Plus it helped that her family lives here. It’s a beautiful place, with beautiful mountains, small-town character, and the very best outdoor lifestyle. Ketchum provides us with quality of life too alluring to pass up.
What were challenges you experienced (if any) transitioning from military to civilian life?
Transitioning from military to civilian life was difficult for me in the beginning. My wife too, as she moved around with me since we met, and supported me during my deployments.
Once we moved to Ketchum, challenges arose for me from starting over in a new career in real estate, something I had never done before. Only a few of my accomplishments and experience as a US Air Force officer and pilot were transferable into this new civilian career. To overcome this challenge I went back to school to get an MBA. I spent many late nights and weekends studying and going to class, putting a lot of stress on the family. My wife has been very patient and understanding during this process, and she has also been my biggest supporter.
Did you seek out any help within the community or your wife’s family?
We did, and the help we received was amazing. The help provided relief for us and allowed us to focus on our son, school, and careers--mine in real estate and hers as a veterinarian for the Sun Valley Animal Center. We are grateful for the selfless support from our friends, family, and local community members. Our transition, and life overall, would have been much more difficult without them.
I know a lot of people that move to the Wood River Valley, including veterans, are not as fortunate to have the same support system. This is one reason I believe 5B REALTORS for Veterans will be a great community asset and help support veterans that choose to make the Wood River Valley home.
Now that it’s been two years since you’ve completed your commitment with the Air Force, what are your views on life as a veteran in the Wood River Valley?
First, I’d like to say that I am proud to be a military veteran and I hope to continue selfless service outside of uniform to fellow veterans and our community. In military service, we, as veterans, were trained with an emphasis on teamwork and with values that included that no team member gets left behind. Veterans carry this same work ethic and dedication into their lives after military service. In service, they relied heavily upon each other to complete every mission, and teamwork was the key to their successes.
When making the transition to civilian life, many veterans quickly learn that the concepts of selfless service and teamwork don’t necessarily carry over. In civilian life, it is important to be able to communicate and ask for help or assistance.
Asking for help was not something I was accustomed to doing but I learned to do this for the sake of my family, even though at times it seemed to be at the cost of my pride. What I learned was that in order to make a successful transition, veterans must learn how to do this, to ask for help. In the end, the support I received, especially from family, friends, and the Ketchum community, was amazing.
Thank you for sharing your story! One last thing--how do you think 5B REALTORS for Veterans will help our local vets?
You’re welcome. I hope that by sharing my story, this will serve as a way to encourage other local vets to seek assistance when needed.
As a member of the community, and as a veteran, I support 5B REALTORS for Veterans and their mission to provide sustainable housing for veterans and their families who need it. Without support from local community and vets like myself, this program wouldn’t be possible. Vets helping vets is the best way to encourage local heroes in need to ask for help.
5B REALTORS for Veterans thank Reid and his wife for all the years of service and sacrifice to our country. We are able to enjoy life and freedom in Blaine County because of him and every U.S. military serviceman and woman. #Make5BHomelessVetFree ... See MoreSee Less
"We appreciate the generosity of Washington Federal for their gold sponsorship of our 5B REALTORS for Veterans Fun Run/Walk on October 1st!",Matt Bogue, president of SV Board of REALTORS Community Foundation. We are so grateful for all of our sponsors and for believing in our program! Register for the race at www.5BVeterans.org! We are five days away from race day! ... See MoreSee Less