Each year on August 4, National Coast Guard Day commemorates the founding of the United States Coast Guard. To celebrate this day and continue our efforts to #SALUTEaVET all year long, we’d like to introduce you to Julia Connery (née Flanagan), a GP employee and veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard.
National Coast Guard Day holds a special significance for Julia not only because it commemorates the founding of her branch of service; it also happens to be the day she enlisted in 1987!
Learn more about Julia’s time in the United States Coast Guard in our Q&A with her below.
Describe your role at GP and how long you have worked for the company.
I have worked at Georgia-Pacific for 23 years, and I am currently the Production Scheduling Supervisor at our Dixie plant in Leominster, Mass. My responsibilities include ordering raw materials for production and scheduling the machines that make our products.
How did you come to work at GP?
Upon completing my military service in 1993, I was working in a temporary position at James River Corporation (which later became part of Georgia-Pacific). A permanent position opened up for an Inventory Freight Coordinator, and so I applied and got the job.
When were you in the Coast Guard? Why did you decide to join?
I was in the military from 1987 to 1993. Joining the military was something I always wanted to do, but I never had the courage to do it. Finally, I decided to go for it and enlisted when I was 24 years old.
What was your proudest moment in your service?
My proudest moment was when I received the Commandant Letter of Recommendation Award in 1992 for my performance in the Communications Division, Reserve Unit First District Office, during Operation Desert Storm. The Letter is considered a very high honor.
How has your family supported your military service?
My parents weren’t too keen on the idea of me joining at first. Once they learned more about the mission of the U.S. Coast Guard, they were very accepting of it and proud of me for serving. Even today, my family still calls to let me know when they see the Coast Guard on TV or in the news. Overall, it was a great experience.
If you could only use one word to describe your military experience, what would it be?
How would your family describe your military service?
It brought me out of my shell. I was very shy and it helped me build my confidence both as a team player and as a leader.
What was your job in the military?
I was a Radiomen 3rd class. I handled point-to-point communications, voice, telex, and Morse code (“Hello, all stations!”).
What lessons did your service teach you that you still carry with you?
The importance of integrity, diversity, paying attention to details, accountability, team work and respect.