Kevin Sadaj has been a member of IABC Detroit since 2018. He is currently a marketing coordinator at Oakland County Economic Development & Community Affairs. For more information on the Marines in Somalia, visit Marine Somalia Veterans Association.
There was a young veteran on his road to happy destiny. He was hurt and reached out for help that wasn’t there. He began to sink in the morass of lonely self-pity and post traumatic stress. Having really no idea where to turn, he created his own support network. He took one step after the other, doing what was natural to his own self to have his way revealed.
That veteran was me.
I recently had the opportunity to be interviewed on WJR 760 for their “Inspired Heroes” show sponsored by the Grosse Point War Memorial.
We talked about the founding of the Marine Somalia Veterans Association (MSVA), my time in the Marine Corps and my family’s proud service to our country since the Revolutionary War.
Ten years ago, myself and a fellow Marine Corps veteran named Scott MacQuarrie founded the MSVA. We needed an outlet to talk about and process our experiences over there.
What began as two guys and a Facebook page has grown into 1,500 members and a tradition of helping fellow veterans seek help, obtain Veterans Administration benefits, a place of camaraderie and mutual support, and a repository for all things historical related to our mission.
We’ve felt forgotten since the day we set foot back in the States, so the MSVA provides support to our fellow vets as only we can do. In the Marine Corps we learned “never leave a fallen comrade.” The MSVA puts this into action.
We lost 42 U.S. military members over there, along with roughly the same amount of U.N. troops, as well as saved hundreds of thousands of Somalis from starving. We couldn’t forget it, and we didn’t want our country to forget either.
Marie Osborne, one of the interviewers, asked me why I started the group. My answer to her was that I am naturally a “connector.” I always seek to bring people together who have common interests, as well as bring together diverse groups, such as during work projects. This is part of my DNA – I can’t escape it. Because this is such an integral part of my very being, a career in public relations and corporate communications was a natural for me.
If you would have asked me 20 years ago why I got into this field, I may not have been able to answer beyond “I like to write.” I have now come to believe that my profession – no my vocation – is because of my natural desire to bring people together. This is carried out daily at work and in my private life.
My membership in the IABC is also a natural progression in my development as a person. I have the opportunity to meet and learn from fellow communicators, which has made me a better person, and I am able to better discover the many ways I can “connect” people.
A veteran found his happy destiny. He reached out for help, and his way was revealed.