A Veteran’s View: Soaring to New Heights Thanks to People with Disabilities

By Adam Henrichsen 05/19/2022
May is Military Appreciation Month Adam Henrichsen

In recognition of Military Appreciation Month, Air Force veteran and SourceAmerica® employee Adam Henrichsen shares his personal story, including how people with disabilities helped his military career soar.

My name is Adam Henrichsen, and I retired from the U.S. Air Force in 2016 after 21 years of service. I do not come from a lineage of family members that previously served; however, my grandfather is a WWII veteran and served in the Pacific theater. While my grandfather didn’t speak much of his WWII experiences, I was intrigued by his service and at age 17, I enlisted for what I thought would be four years!

During my military service I served as an aircraft loadmaster on C-5 A/B/C/M and C-27A aircraft and was stationed at three bases (and visited countless others) across the country; I utilized services and products provided by AbilityOne® authorized nonprofits daily! (The AbilityOne Program is one of the largest sources of employment for people who are blind or have significant disabilities.) As an airman stationed at Edwards AFB, Desert Haven Enterprises, Inc. provided my family with housing maintenance services; at Travis AFB, California, PRIDE Industries provided our housing maintenance services, numerous meals at the dining facility, and they kept the squadron buildings in tip top shape with grounds maintenance and janitorial services. At Altus AFB, Oklahoma, Skils’kin worked tirelessly to feed the thousands of loadmaster, flight engineer, boom operator, and pilot students who attended training or staff members stationed at the base as flight instructors or evaluators.

Every time I put on a flight suit, battle dress uniform, operational camouflage pattern, or service dress uniform there was a person with a significant disability responsible for making it. Every time I strapped into the C-5 for another mission to a far-off place, I was secured by a seatbelt manufactured by persons with disabilities; these are just two of many examples of contributions that AbilityOne participating nonprofits provided directly to me!

Who would have thought that - just one short year after my military retirement - I would begin a second career with SourceAmerica®, working alongside and championing the many people with disabilities that served me for 21 years—what an honor!

This Military Appreciation Month, I would like to acknowledge and sincerely thank the thousands of people with disabilities that are employed by AbilityOne providers that serve our military communities; you make the mission possible!

Adam Henrichsen is a Subject Matter Expert, NPA Recommendation for SourceAmerica.