Melanie Tighe was married with small children when she joined the Air National Guard. Not being a fan of living out at sea, rather than following in her father’s Navy steps, she was more interested in her uncle’s choice in serving in the USAF. Because she wanted to be as close to home as possible, the Air National Guard seemed to be a right fit for Melanie.
Serving in any branch of service presents personal challenges to overcome. For Melanie it was getting used to the “hurry up and wait” culture. Laughing, she said, “I never did learn how to overcome. I had the hurry part down okay, but that wait part chafed me terribly. Now that I’m older and wiser, I tend to wait more than I hurry, and with much better results.”
Her greatest reward from her military experience is something to be regarded. Melanie learned how a team functions together to complete a mission. “I never participated in team sports, so this was eye-opening for me. Knowing my unit counted on me to know and do my job to the best of my ability and that all of the things we did, no matter how trivial they might seem, contributed to an important mission.”
Transitioning wasn’t a challenge for Melanie. She said the biggest change she had to make was to learn to slow down to eat and to remind herself not to stand for the National Anthem when the lights went down in civilian theaters! She understands others have a more difficult time. Her encouragement to those struggling is to seek out resources in the community. As a board member of the philanthropic arm of the Southwest Veterans’ Chamber of Commerce, she’s witnessed the good work tha
t many of their sister organizations have done and says there are many people who would be honored to help those who served.
Today, Melanie uses what she gained from the military and extends her loyalty to veteran business owners. As a small business owner herself, she receives great satisfaction teaching veterans how to take advantage of streamlined integrated solutions to help grow their business, increase revenue, and stay compliant with the ever-changing employment laws.
Melanie offers encouragement to employers and civilians as well. She reminds us about the high suicide rate of our veterans and urges each of us to keep a few numbers programmed into our cell phone contacts. She says, “If you know of a veteran who is in a dark place, please share these numbers or make the call for them. We can all play a part in keeping our guys and gals safe once they get home.
Veteran Help: National Suicide Prevention Line 800-273-8255
Veteran Help in Arizona: Be Connected AZ 866-429-8387
In closing, Melanie gives some final words for us all to live by, “Let’s all try to be kinder to one another in 2021. We’ve all been through a helluva year.