joined the Army, his initial career path was to stay in for life. He had le at one time, attended college, but then returned, because he missed it that much. He was working as a combat engineer, having served eight- and-a-half years. Upon his return to Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM)—aer his deployment to Afghanistan—Scott was notified that, due to Army downsizing, his unit was being disbanded. “When we got back from Afghanistan,” Brother Williamson said, “we heard they were downsizing, and unfortunately my retention NCO (non-com- missioned officer) didn’t get word to me that I had 30 days to decide on my future. It came down to a couple of weeks, and there was not an option for me to stay in the Army.” Initially, Scott was plan- ning on enrolling back into college. He knew he had an interest in welding and engineering. Col- lege was the plan, until he heard about the Veterans in Piping Welding program through the Career Skills Program at JBLM. “ey mentioned guaranteed job,” Scott said, “and that immediately piqued my interest. We had just had a baby boy, and we used our savings to eliminate debt to make things easier for us during the transition. Money was tight. Aer I learned I was accepted into the program, we continued to put as much money away as we could, but it wasn’t enough, and it was tough in the beginning.” Scott continued, “I loved the program, but when I graduated, my wife and son went to live with my wife’s parents until I could get settled. We put everything in storage. I drove to Plumbers and Pip- efitters Local 393 in San Jose in an old car to start my apprenticeship. I’m from Georgetown, CA, which is in the sticks. People go hiking and camp- ing there, but it’s six hours away from San Jose, so living there was not an option. In Georgetown, you can rent a house for $600 a month. In San Jose, it’s $2,200 for 900 square feet. I knew I would be starting all over again, but with four months of savings and a newborn, I was in for a shock.” Scott said Carl Cimino, the Local 393 Training Director, opened his door to him when he heard he was struggling with finances, and that he would al- ways be grateful for that. “I lived with Carl and his wife for a bit, until I could save enough money for my place,” he said. “When I had saved enough, Carl went out of his way and drove me around the city, showing me areas I should look at and which areas to avoid. My wife and son joined me, but we con- tinued to save like crazy to be able to afford a house here. I tried to work a ton of overtime. I remember those first six or seven months being tough, but you do what you have to do to make it work.” is year, Scott will become a fih-year appren- tice, and he stated that he loves his job. “It’s gone by really fast,” he said. “Seven or eight months into the trade, I bought my house. We looked at houses an hour in each direction from San Jose and de- cided on a little town called Tracy. It’s a small, super community. I’m way more relaxed now. We have a house; our monthly payments went down. It took a lot of saving to get to where we are now. e house isn’t fancy, built in ’85. It’s in good shape, and I put on an addition. I worked as much over- time as I could to get where we are today.” Scott said that when he was in the service, he was never home. He stated that JBLM deploys a lot. “We were always training,” he said, “so it’s good to be home. I have two kids now. My son is five, and I have a daughter who is three. e benefits and healthcare that come with union membership are significant for them.” Scott has worked for Harris Mechanical for two years now. He has been working at the new Apple facility. “I’ve been doing a lot of copper, manifold, and solution. We are supplying the building with When Scott Williamson Careerops 12 A Soldier’s Perseverance Pays Off