Heroes Among Us: UAB HR Employee Veterans

This Veterans Day, The University of Alabama at Birmingham invites you to remember and thank our veterans for their service to our country. Throughout the month of November, please take a moment to write a thank you note, share a story, or simply express your gratitude for their service by filling out the “Thank a Veteran” form.

As we pay tribute to all military service men and women on Veterans Day, we would like to honor and recognize veterans who work alongside us in the HR department. Meet five employees in our department who have agreed to share part of their story. 

 

Bobby Barnes – Employee Relations/Manager

Bobby served 20 years in the USAF from 1980 until 2000.  He spent his entire service in a dental squadron where he began as a dental assistant.  Most of his career consisted of administrative duties including Superintendent of Dental Services. This position served as an advisor to the Dental Squadron Commander and was responsible for the management of all ancillary services and supervision of all enlisted and civilian personnel.  

Bobby’s assignments included:  
McConnell AFB, Wichita, KS 
Brooks AFB, San Antonio, TX
Ramstein AFB, Germany
Maxwell AFB, Montgomery, AL 
Keesler AFB, Biloxi, MS

Bobby retired in April 2000 and was hired by UAB that same month as an HR Employment Representative.  He has been in UAB HR ever since. 

Grant Cochrane – Hospital HR/HR Consultant

Grant was commissioned as an Officer in the U.S. Coast Guard in 1980.  He was on active duty for three years (1980- 1983).  Grant trained in Yorktown, VA. After completing his training, he was a Line Officer stationed at Governor’s, New York City, NY, with the Third Coast Guard District Command which no longer exists. Grant’s primary assignment was employee relations type responsibilities covering a five state area. He moved back south, first to Atlanta for a few months and then accepted a HR position as a Recruiter with his alma mater, the University of Florida.

Mike Maner – Organizational Learning and Development/Manager

US Navy 1982 – 2002

Mike’s original job assignment in the U.S. Navy was a full time professional musician in the Navy Music Program, after passing an official audition and meeting the qualifications.  For the first 15 years of his career, he served in Navy bands as a trombone instrumentalist located in Japan, Memphis TN, Great Lakes IL (Chicago) and Seattle, Washington.  In each of those places he traveled extensively and performed in a wide variety of groups and ensembles as well as a variety of musical styles.  Performances included military ceremonies, elaborate productions and events, presidential events, special ceremonies for foreign dignitaries, international parades, appearances on live TV and radio broadcasts, and the public at large. 

Travels included almost every country across Asia, and almost every state in the US.  In the later years of his career, he also served as leader and conductor for some of the groups to which he was assigned.  In the summer of 1997, Mike was selected to serve on the staff of the Armed Forces School of Music in Norfolk, VA as the Assistant Director of the Curriculum and Instructional Standards Office.  His duties switched from musical performance to education as he became responsible for things like instructor evaluations and certifications, course reviews, course development and maintenance, and staff training.  Mike remained on the staff until November 2002, at which point he elected to retire from active duty, having completed 20 years in the U.S. Navy.

After his retirement from active duty, he relocated to Birmingham, AL area.  He spent a few months enjoying a leisure lifestyle to allow for adjustment to civilian life again, and then began his job search to start a second career.  Mike was briefly employed at the Saks Inc. corporate office for a few months before accepting a position with UAB Organizational Learning and Development in fall of 2004.  September 28, 2014 marked 10 years of employment with UAB.

Tony Ponder – HRIS/Programmer/Analyst II

21 years in the U.S.  Army from 1982 – 2003

Tony served as a driver on an armored personnel carrier from 1982 to 1984. He was stationed at Ft. Stewart, Georgia (Bravo Co.; 2nd Battalion 34th Infantry Division).

Tony was stationed in Baumholder, West Germany (Charlie Co.; 1st Battalion, 13th Infantry Division) from 1984 to 1986.  He served as an armored personnel carrier driver, jeep driver, and finally driver on a deuce-and-a-half (2 ½ ton truck). 

Coming off active duty where his primary role was a driver took a little getting used to.  He was trained to constantly be on the lookout for possible ambush sites while driving, so he was constantly on the lookout anytime he was in a vehicle.  Tony also had to personally slow down a little and get used to the relaxed lifestyle of the south.  Having grown up in the north prior to his service, it took him several years to get used to the “southern hospitality”. 

From 1986 to 2003, Tony was assigned to the 87th Maneuver Area Command (Active Reserve) in Birmingham.   He served as assistant to the S1 – S4 Controller (supply and logistics) in training National Guard and Army Reserve units for wartime maneuvers at Battalion, Brigade, Division, Corp, and Theater level operations.  Tony held management positions after his transition from active duty.  At the time of Tony’s retirement from the Army in 2003, he was actively pursuing his BS degree in Computer Science at UAB.  He became employed with UAB in 2004.  

Marty Smith – HRIS/System Programmer II

Marty served four years active duty in the US Air Force (1971 – 1975) during the Vietnam and cold war eras.  After basic training, Marty was in school for one year at Kessler AFB in Mississippi being trained in microwave communications.  During that time he was given a top secret access clearance.  He was stationed at Andrews AFB, Maryland for two years and maintained the incoming communications from around the world along with encrypted communication to the Pentagon. 

Marty’s fourth year was spent in Turkey where he maintained communications at a NATO site in the outskirts of Istanbul.  The site was comprised of numerous Turkish and U.S. Army troops, but only eight USAF personnel.  The USAF personnel lived off site in Turkish condos in a nice suburb community, Yesilyurt/Yesilkoy, and drove to and from the NATO site.  Although it was a very dangerous time to be in Turkey with the Greek – Turkish Cyprus conflict and subsequent Turkish takeover attempt of US bases, Marty managed to have quite a bit of fun in his spare time and made friends in the community. 

After his Turkish tour, Marty returned to the US, was honorably discharged at McGuire AFB, New Jersey, and returned to civilian life.



Interested in sharing your HR employee veteran story? Contact Sherri Moultrie at srmoult@uab.edu for more information.

Additional Veteran Resources

Provided below are links to information, forms and other resources that you may find helpful as a veteran at UAB.

Affirmative Action

At UAB, we are committed to advancing our already diverse community. Please take a moment to read our UAB Affirmative Action policy to become informed on concerns with discrimination and how you should handle this should it arise.

Veterans and Individuals with Disability Self ID Form - Current employees, fill out this form to voluntarily self-identify as a veteran or individual with disabilities. Submission of this information is strictly voluntary, and refusal to provide it will NOT subject you to any adverse treatment.

AWARE Program

UAB employees may take advantage of the AWARE Program, which provides disability-management services when an employee’s job is affected by a physical, mental or emotional impairment. The AWARE program coordinates requests for reasonable accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Employee Assistance and Counseling Center

The UAB Employee Assistance and Counseling Center (EACC) is anemployee benefit designed to provide employees and their immediate household members with resources for resolving work-related and personal problems. The UAB EACC provides employee assistance, confidential counseling, community referral, supervisor consultation, crisis management and a variety of educational programs to support successful work life integration. Contact the UAB Employee Assistance and Counseling Center for more information on programs and events, counselors and eligibility.

Veteran Services

Veteran Services is a valuable resource for UAB students who have served in the United States Armed Forces and who are attending college using one or more of the Educational Benefits packages. UAB proudly partners with the Veterans Administration to provide VA Yellow Ribbon benefits to qualified students. Please consult the UAB Veteran Recruitment and Student Services page for more information on these programs and services.


Helpful Links:

  • Birmingham Vet Center – Assists veterans and their families with readjustment counseling and outreach services.
  • The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) “protects the job rights of individuals who voluntarily or involuntarily leave employment positions to undertake military service or certain types of service in the National Disaster Medical System. USERRA also prohibits employers from discriminating against past and present members of the uniformed services, and applicants to the uniformed services.”
  • Alabama Transition Assistance Program (TAP) – Established to meet the needs of separating service members during their period of transition into civilian life by offering job-search assistance and related services.
  • National Resource Directory (NRD) – Connecting wounded warriors, service members, veterans, their families and caregivers with those who support them.
  • Joining Forces – Dedicated to connecting servicemen and women, veterans and military spouses with the resources they need to find jobs at home.
  • BrainLineMilitary – Living with TBI: help for service members, veterans, National Guard, reserve and families.
  • VA Medical Center – Provides acute tertiary medical and surgical care to veterans of Alabama and surrounding states.

Veteran Career Resources

UAB proudly supports the policies and practices of equal opportunity in education and employment, including the hiring of veterans and their families. Provided below are collections of resources you may find helpful.

Your Post-Military Career

We understand that the transition from military life to civilian life is not always an easy one.

Ready to get started? Visit our Careers Page to browse and apply to current job openings at UAB.

SPOTLIGHT: The Military Resume - Translating military experience to civilian employment

When creating your civilian job resume, assume no knowledge of the military – employers with no exposure to the military may not understand the terminology and acronyms – translate these into civilian terms. Show your resume to nonmilitary friends and ask them to point out terms they don’t understand.

Messages of Thanks for Veterans

Dear Veteran,
Thank you so much for protecting the country. My dad was in the military when i was 2 and i hear stories from my mom about how hard it was not knowing if he would come home. I just can't say thank you enough.
Yours Truly, Will Biles
Dear Veteran,
Thank You for Your Service and all that you do for your country. You are braver than i'll ever be. :)
Yours Truly, Paul Lucas Ryan
Thank You for being our life line to freedom. May God bless you all in the name of Jesus Christ.
- Patrice Sims, Active Duty
Thank you for serving and protecting our country. We love you and pray for your safe return back home.
- Wanda, Military family
Thank you to ALL the Veterans for what you've done/doing for our country!
- Angela Usher, Military family
I wish to thank all past, present, and future Veterans for your willingness to serve. Eventhough there are sacrifices (for some,a lot more than others); it is an honor to serve. Continue to pray for our sailors, airmen, soldiers, marines, and of course, their families (it couldn't be accomplished without your support). Respectfully submitted.
- Amy, Retired
Heartfelt thanks to all who have served and continue to have a lifelong commitment to our great country!
- Daphne Powell
Thank you to all who have placed their lives at risk for their country. Thank you to loved ones, especially those whose family members are no longer with us due to their duties. My freedom and my children's freedom required sacrifices that I did not have to make, so I pray for those who did, and their families, and pray that America will respect and uphold freedoms for all citizens equally, and encourage other countries to do the same.
- James Grimes
Thanks to all the veterans past and present for their service!
- Mary Hall, Active Duty
Thank You to All for your service to help make our Country what it is today. A special prayer to to all our fallen soldiers familes. Gods grace and peace be upon you. Thank You!
- Gwen Timmons, Active Duty
Thank you so much for the service you do to protect us all here in America. We are so thankful for everything we do and I am praying for you.
-Gina Sherman
I want to express my thanks to all the veterans out there! Thank you so much for all the hard work you all have done for our country and continueing doing. God Bless America!!!!!!!!!
- Cindy Rowell, Veteran
Thank you to all the veterans and their families. My Dad served over 20 years in the Air Force so all veterans have a special place in my heart. Thank you to all Active Duty and Retired. All of you are truly special people.
- Tanji Stephens, Military family
I am extremely proud of my Dad for his fight and sacrifice for our country during World War II. He brought home a Purple Heart which I will always cherish. I love you Daddy!
- Vickie Anderson, Veteran
Sending a heartfelt hug and thanks to our Military family. Your effort to make a difference, to make the world a better place, to do good for others is greatly appreciated. Love from Alabama!
- Trina Colafrancesco, Military family
Thanks for all that you all do for our country and may the God that I serve keep you all safe.
- Cheryl Brown
Thank you all for your service and dedication to our great country.
- Treva McAboy
A few greats back my grandfather defended America in the Revolutionary war. My grandfather was in the trenches of France in WW1, and my father and uncle were in Germany in WW2 including the Battle of the Bulge. I posthumously salute them, and all of their compatriots, for their gallantry in the face of nearly unimaginable challenges. Their contributions dwarf my military service.
- Marty Smith, Veteran
Thank you for your service. Your bravery allows me to live a life that people in other countries may not be afforded. I am forever grateful for what you have done or are currently doing.
- Brannette Marshall
There are not many places in the world where men and women I have never met will fight, with their lives, to grant me rights that not everyone else has. Thank you so much for protecting and defending our freedom and way of life. We are the greatest country in the world because we have the greatest people in the world defending us. Words cannot express the infinite gratitude every American has for you. Thank you to all who put—and have put on- the uniform looking for nothing in return.
- Kimberly Heard, Military family
Thank you for servicing our country doing what you do it takes courage and strength and the ALmighty God to endure but you chose to do so THANK YOU THANK YOU TO TYSON HALL FORT HOOD ( ALL MILITARY )
- Denise, Active Duty
Thank you for the sacrifices you and your family make daily.
- Janice Wagnon, Military family
Thank you for your service. My father was in the Army during the Korean Conflict. You are the foundation upon which this country stands. We depend on you for our freedoms. Thank you for all that you do.
- Fredia Fuller Dillard, Military family
Thank you for your service, for your sacrifices. I have holidays with my family while you frequently miss them and many other things, moments that cannot be created again. Thank you for facing fear so I can sleep at night.
- Roberta, Military family
MAY YOU BE BLESSED TODAY AND ALWAYS FOR YOUR SERVICE TO OUR GREAT COUNTRY. TO HAVE SOMEONE DEFEND ME AND MY RIGHTS IS SUCH A GREAT HONOR. FROM ONE VETERAN FAMILY TO ANOTHER, THANK YOU AND GOD BLESS YOU GREATLY.
- Gloria Turner, Veteran
This is the first Veteran's Day that my mother and I will spend without my father who was a Vietnam Veteran who passed away this past April. Daddy you were a great man, proud of the 17 years service you gave to our country and we so thankful for the sacrifice that you made as well the other Veterans that served beside you. So we say Thank You for Your Service to all who served yesterday, today, and tomorrow for the sake of our freedoms. 
- Nikki George, Veteran
To all service men and women of every branch of military service: It is with a grateful heart I thank all of you for the daily sacrifice and committment you give to protect the freedom of our country and our rights so many have died to defend. God be with you this Veteran's Day, and always.
- Henry Hoffmeyer, Military family
I would like to thank all of the men and women who have servied in the miltary. Thandks goes out to my brothers who wasin the vetnam war, my daugther, son who was in Irqa war and son-in-law.Thanks to all of you. May God Bless
- Carol Sloan, Veteran
Thank you for your sacrifice and service to our country..
- Pauline Fox
I come from a line of Veterans and I want to Thank all vets. Special Thanks to my brother my husband son grandsons. To show my appreciation I am very active with Quilts of Valor Thanks again for given America Freedom
- Janie Mahon, Active Duty
My dad and uncles fought in WWII and my brothers fought in Vietnam. I am extremely proud to be part of such a wonderful family. I want to thank them and all those past, present and future who have fought or will fight for my freedom. My debt can never be repaid. Thank you and may God bless you.
- Carleen Abercrombie
My father served over 30 years active duty Air Force (yes, I am a BRAT) and my sister active duty (over 20 years). My cousin is a commander of a sub in the Navy, and all of my uncles have served. To the active duty, reserves, national guards, and veterns - a heartfelt THANK YOU for all you and your families have done, and do. God bless the USA and the wonderful military!
- Becky Jones, Military Family
Thank you Veterans for your service to your country! We salute you for all you have sacrificed. Special thanks to my son, who is currently serving in the US Navy - active duty. I am so proud of you!
- Karla Duncan, Military family
Special thanks to my husband who served more than 20 years in the Marine's...They really are the few, the proud, the Marines. Hoorah! Although my Dad is now deceased he also served in the branch of the Army...We are so proud of these men and every man who is now serving or in the past. Thank you all!!!
- Tammie Bester-Kelly, Military family
Thank you for your sacrifice, no words could explain our gratitude.
- Samantha Sewell, Military family
Thank you to all the veterans and those currently serving for your courage and personal sacrifice to serve and protect our country. My life is better because of you.
- Julie Whatley, Military family
Thanks to all of UAB's veterans for the sacrifices they have made to preserve the freedom of the United States of America. Your sacrifices are not forgotten.
- Bobby Rogers, MSgt, USAF (Ret.), UAB HSIS Information Security
Thank you for all that you do or have done. Our nation stands today because of you.
- Phyllis Davis
In being a veteran myself I like to thank all Veterans for your military service. It can sometimes feel alone and isolated but know we as Americans and other veterans really appreciate all that you have done in protecting our country.
- Cheryl, Veteran
Thank you for courage, commitment and perseverance; for serving in places most of us would never go to willingly. Thank your families for all the holidays and benchmark observed without you. God Bless and protect you and your families.
- Caroline Lockridge, Military family
Keep up the good work guys! I hope you all are safe and think about and pray for you a lot. I wish I could be there with y'all! Thank you for doing what so many don't want to do! SEMPER FI!!!
- Richard Crabb, Veteran
Thank you for your service. We enjoy many freedoms because of your commitment to our country. God bless you and your family. God Bless America!
- Anita Clemon
Thank you and your families for the sacrifices you make to assure our freedom. Words cannot express the pride and appreciation I feel for our wonderful military and their families, past present, and future.
- Pamela W. Morgan, Military family

May God bless you and keep you safe, especially over the approaching holidays. Thank you doesn't seem to be enough...but T H A N K Y O U for your service!!
- Susan Branscum, Retired


Thank you.
- Cheryl Diane Copes, Veteran

A deep thanks of gratitude for all men and women who have served as soldiers or spouses -- your sacrifices are humbling.
- Dawn Nahlen, Military family
I joined the military during the Vietnam War and through the Gulf war. I'm retired Air Force and I am glad to have serve this wonderful country of our. I am an UAB employee and I have known only one other Veterans like me that sevred over 20 years in the Military at UAB. I'm sure there are more of us here. But how much, I don't know. I'm not asking for myself, but for all the unknown UAB Veterans employee. Why can't we have that one day off like so many other companies big or small around the nation? Thank You
- Derek J. Gaboya, Retired

Thank you Warriors, Wounded Warriors and Fallen Warriors you are the Jewels making the stars shine so bright in our flag. Thank you for being the Special persons you are and Thank you for all that you do.
- Renee, Military family


Thanks for your bravery and dedication the the United States and the citizens that relies on your CARE.
- Lisa Milton


Thank you for defending our freedom. Please remember what you have done and what you are doing is greatly appreciated by many. God Bless you and your families.
- Pamela Taylor, Active Duty

Thank you for your generous service. It is greatly appreciated everyday.
- Erika Mack, Military family


I would like to thank all the veterans who serve and commit such a brave selfless act of pride and commitment to there country. My grandfather, father, and now brother all serve. God Bless All of You!
- Christina M., Active duty


Thank you for your selfless sacrifices and dedication to defending our liberties and way of life.
- Renwick Slaughter, Active duty


Thank you for all that you have done for our country. God Bless you all.
- Cindy Rowell
Thanks to everyone for their service. May we honor you all. God Bless!
- Rebecca Martin, Active duty

Thank you for the tremendous sacrifices you have made to defend our our country and our freedom.
- J Banks, Military family
Thank you for what you have done, and what you continue to do for this country.
- Carly W.

This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave.
- Elmer Davis

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