Wounded warrior finds work with help of Grass Valley resident | TheUnion.com

Wounded warrior finds work with help of Grass Valley resident

Dave Brooksher
Staff Writer

Iraq veteran Michael Crowe is learning to be a project manager thanks to Sherry Rebstock , who helps job seekers interested in developing such a career.

After 10 years in the United States Marine Corps and five tours of duty with the infantry, Sgt. Michael Crowe of Commerce, Mich., is looking for a new line of work.

Crowe sustained multiple injuries, including a traumatic brain injury (or TBI), when he was launched out of his vehicle's gun turret by the explosive force of an anti-tank mine just outside of Fallujah, Iraq.

Given the severity of his wounds, Crowe's combat days are over, but the good news is that with the help of resident Sherry Rebstock, he has landed a project management internship with the Department of Defense.

"Being in the infantry for 10 years, it's hard to go past some of those stigmas," Crowe said. "You can be a police officer, security guard or contractor. But this way, I can use some of my experience as a team leader.

"It's definitely different. The stakes aren't nearly as high. You're not going to be shot for missing a deadline, and you don't have the stress of bullets flying or an enemy trying to put you down."

Rebstock is a senior project manager for IBM. In addition to her one-on-one work with Crowe, she maintains a website for job-seekers interested in a career in project management. Visitors can download a skills assessment tool, obtain information about certification through the Project Management Institute and find career tips for surviving the project management industry.

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His ultimate goal at this point in life is to find work as a project manager with a major corporation or government agency, and Rebstock has helped him rise to the challenge of reintegrating into the civilian world. They've been corresponding via email and conference call for months, revising Crowe's resume and filling in the content.

"It's his interest in project management and my interest in trying to help people that magically brought us together with a lot of technology in between," Rebstock says. "I just think about what a young man like that went through and what he experienced … It's just amazing to me. When he told me he got an internship, I had tears in my eyes."

"Sherry's been a great help and a great mentor," Crowe said by phone from the Wounded Warriors East facility at Camp Lejeune, N.C. "She's gone above and beyond for me."

Crowe's work with the Department of Defense started Dec. 30, and he says it's going well. He's working side by side with an experienced project manager, learning the skills of his newly chosen profession.

His good fortune is not shared by all returning vets, however.

In 2010, there were 12,700 veterans of our nation's recent wars in the Middle East who were homeless, according to information from the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, and the number of young homeless vets is expected to increase in the years to come.

Contact Staff Writer Dave Brooksher via email at dbrooksher@theunion.com or call 530-477-4230.

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