“It does not matter what branch of the military you were in or what time period you served, we all share similar experiences in some way, and we bond through those similar experiences.”

Chuck Robinson: HR Dept. - U.S. Navy Veteran

Chuck Robinson pictured second from the left.

Navy Veteran Talks About Tradition, Service and Trust

Chuck Robinson joined the United States Navy in 2004. It was important to him to continue his family’s military legacy. A member of his family has served the nation dating back to 1775 with the formation of the Continental Navy during the Revolutionary War. After five deployments to almost everywhere in the Northern Hemisphere, Chief Petty Officer Robinson retired from the military fourteen years later in 2017. But his desire to help and serve others didn’t end with his active-duty status.

It was only one-week after leaving the Navy that Robinson met another veteran recruiting for the hearing healthcare industry. Today, Robinson is the human resource manager at Miracle-Ear Midwest, but he started out as a hearing healthcare professional (HCP) at a Miracle-Ear store location.

Robinson said as an HCP he dealt with other veteran’s nearly every day. Recognizing other veteran’s may be as simple as noticing the way a person carries themselves or how they speak. A personal connection and a certain level of trust between veteran’s can be almost instantaneous.

“It does not matter what branch of the military you were in or what time period you served,” Robinson said. “We all share similar experiences in some way, and we bond through those similar experiences.”

One of Robinson’s first clients was a Marine Corps veteran. The Marine was initially skeptical about receiving services for his hearing loss, but that doubt did not last long. They recognized each other as former military and the bond between the fellow veterans grew to a friendship still going strong.

“Right off the bat we hit it off and had a personal connection that wasn’t just about his hearing health, it was about everything,” Robinson said.

The Marine would swing by the store to visit and would bring lotto tickets, candy, and even a sympathy card when Robinson’s dog past-away. Robinson still has that card hanging on his filling cabinet to this day.

Speaking on the meaning of Veteran’s Day, Robinson said it is for the recognition of those who have served the nation and returned home safely. However, many people don’t understand the difference between Veteran’s Day and Memorial Day.

“Memorial Day is for our brothers and sisters that didn’t get to come home. So, both of those days can be bittersweet,” Robinson said. “For a lot of us we celebrate those who served our country, but it can also be a painful memory of the ones who aren’t there with us.”

Robinson also said it is important to recognize military service and highlight our veterans to the youth of America. We need people who can carry on that tradition of service.

“I think for veteran’s specifically, Veteran’s Day is a time to reflect and think about the places we’ve been and what we’ve accomplished,” said Robinson. “Not necessarily the painful parts, but just the accomplishments in service for our country.”

If you are a veteran or know a veteran that may need support or just someone to talk with, please call the VA Veterans Crisis Line at 800-273-8255 and press 1 or visit veteranscrisisline.net for additional resources, including text and online chat options.

 
 

“I feel like I’m a constant representation of the Marine Corps and I try to live by that. I try to do good. I’ve been out of the Marine Corps for six years now, but I will carry that with me forever.”

Dan Slapak: HIS - U.S. Marine Corps Veteran

Dan Slapak pictured second from the left.

Marine Corps Veteran Talks About Trust, Brotherhood and Veterans Helping Veterans

Cpl. Dan Slapak is a United States Marine Corps veteran. He spent most of his four years in the Pacific Command and was with the 2nd Battalion, 9th Marines when he left the military in 2015. He is conscience of the example he sets in everyday life and he wants it to be worthy of the Marine Corps.

“I feel like I’m a constant representation of the Marine Corps and I try to live by that,” Slapak said. “I try to do good. I’ve been out of the Marine Corps for six years now, but I will carry that with me forever.”

Slapak has been with Miracle-Ear Midwest as a Hearing Healthcare Provider (HCP) for one year. Each week, he sees four to five veterans at his retail location. He says he can almost always recognize other military veterans. It can be the way they will hold themselves, talk, body tone, tattoos, haircuts, clothing, but even without those things – “you just know.”

“It’s a weird gene that develops in veterans,” Slapak said. “It’s like a veteran’s ‘Spidey-Sense’ or something.”

Slapak said one of the most important things in his job is earning a client’s trust and he goes above and beyond to help all his patients. Veterans, however, naturally will have a sense of trust with other veterans. It does not matter what branch of the military they served in or what job a veteran did during their time of service. And it does not matter if a veteran served during wartime or not. There is simply in instant rapport and connection between veterans.

A recent patient came into Slapak’s store one evening seeking hearing aids. The gentleman was a 28-year United States Air Force veteran and had served in Vietnam. It was the last appointment of the day and the two sat talking for a long while. The Air Force veteran revealed war stories he needed to talk about and said he was sorry to have taken up so much time. Slapak told him there was absolutely nothing to be sorry for and he would be glad to stay and talk as long as he wanted.

The older gentleman told Slapak he had no one to talk with about his time in the Air Force. The Vietnam veteran does not belong to any veteran groups, such as the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) to form connections with others who had served.

“It was just really great to connect with him like that,” Slapak said. “I was happy to have been an ear for him when he needed it and to be able to hear those stories.”

Talking about the importance of Veteran’s Day, Slapak said the day is to thank the veterans of America. However, some people separate out different military veterans with Memorial Day and Armed Forces Day.

“Veteran’s Day, in the most literal sense, is a day to remember all veterans, but also the active-duty military personnel, and those who didn’t come home,” Slapak said. “But I think that should be remembered every day.”

If Slapak could give a Veteran’s Day message to other veterans he said it would be this - simply do the best you can. He said he has never really had an exact plan, but he just tries to work hard. Most veterans have the keys to success because they have been taught time-management, leadership abilities and discipline to work hard and accomplish goals. Don’t lose sight of those things. He wants to remind veterans of who they are and what they’ve done.

“Nothing is too hard to do. But when things do get hard don’t be afraid to ask for help,” Slapak said. “It’s a really hard thing when you hear about more veterans dying from suicide than in combat. And that’s been the truth for a long time. It’s OK to not be OK. If you need help, get help. There is nothing wrong with it.”

If you are a veteran or know a veteran that may need support or just someone to talk with, please call the VA Veterans Crisis Line at 800-273-8255 and press 1 or visit veteranscrisisline.net for additional resources, including text and online chat options.
 
 

“Sometimes it’s the conversation that lets you get to know a person and once that connection is made, especially if they were in the same branch as you,” Davis laughed. “We’ve basically crunched the same gravel – and it’s always a colorful conversation!”

Dan Davis: HCP Development - U.S. Army Veteran

Army Veteran Speaks About The Mindset of Teamwork and The Soldier's Bond

Dan Davis spent 20-years in the Army and retired Sergeant First Class with the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment. He served in seven countries, including Germany where he witnessed the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. His service as an active duty solider may have ended, but his devotion to serve others did not.

Davis spent another 17-years with the St. Louis County Police Department as a patrolman, motorcycle officer, and a crime scene investigator. Davis’s wife, Tiffany, is the owner and president of Miracle-Ear Midwest. His next career is one he married into – the hearing healthcare industry.

“My wife asked me to leave police work and come work with her,” Davis said. “After much debate, I said yes.”

Today, Davis is the director of hearing care professional training and development at Miracle-Ear Midwest.

A sizeable number of veterans are patients at Miracle-Ear and seek a variety of services. Davis explained veterans who qualify can receive hearing aids through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). However, many will seek hearing aid aftercare with Miracle-Ear for the quality of service, the elimination of long waits for appointments, and the availability of specialists.

It is sometimes easy to identify a veteran by visual clues, such as hats, belt buckles or a pin. Many times, conversation is when veterans connect.

“Sometimes it’s the conversation that lets you get to know a person and once that connection is made, especially if they were in the same branch as you,” Davis laughed. “We’ve basically crunched the same gravel – and it’s always a colorful conversation!”

Davis has a close friend who is a Marine Corps veteran and a veteran of the police department. The two have known each other for many years and even played in the same bagpipe band together.

“It took (my friend) years to realize he needed hearing help and he finally got it,” Davis said. “Since he is a close friend, I keep tabs on his hearing, so I see him quite often.”

The military is a team, and that mindset is instilled starting in basic training and all the way through a soldier’s career. “If you can help out your team member you will,” Davis said. Speaking about the importance of Veteran’s Day, Davis said it is an emotional time for him. He has met numerous “great people” throughout his military career, and he uses the entire month of November to remember everybody he can.

“I call it Veteran’s Month. I remember everybody I can that I’ve served with. I try to reach out to them in some way and let them know they are not forgotten,” Davis said. “You come home and no one knows what you’ve been through. So, we have to watch out for each other.”