Thursday, November 10, 2011

High Five Friday: Veterans Day Edition

High Five Friday is very special today as we honor members of the HART family that have served their country.

HART has more than 100 employees who are veterans or family members of veterans, each with a special story of bravery and sacrifice. But this year's Veterans Day story goes to Angel Ortiz, who is receiving a warm welcome home from his HART family.

"It feels great to be back," Ortiz said during a recent interview with him. "The welcome they gave me here ... I feel like I never left."

Mr. Ortiz is a HART Mechanic A, as well as a Navy Reservist. He returned to HART in October after a three-year deployment to El Salvador.

"Two years, eleven months and two weeks," he said. He recalls the time frames of each deployment with precision.

He's been with HART for six years, but deployed to Bahrain just a few months after he started. After a year, came back to HART for about six months, and deployed once again to El Salvador for what was supposed to be a one-year assignment.

He also had a four-year deployment to Spain prior to coming to HART. He has been in the Navy Reserves since 1994.

His most recent experience with the military has been in the areas of arms and security, and prior to that he worked in regulating drug trafficking.

Welcome Home, Angel Ortiz!
"I always wanted to be in the armed forces. I wanted to serve my country," Ortiz said. He lives in West Tampa with his wife of seven years. He said he looks forward to taking time to spend time with his family, especially his kids.

In addition, he enjoys softball and said he is looking forward to joining the HART softball team!

As a Mechanic A he works on all of the HART vehicles - cars, vans and buses - performing general maintenance.

"As soon as I got back, Mr. Hauck got me registered for classes, and the first week I was here I was taking classes," he said. Mr. Ortiz now is just four classes away from becoming a Master Mechanic.

And just one day away from Veterans Day, a day to honor the unselfish service by people like Mr. Ortiz, as well as the millions of American veterans and their families. Happy Veterans Day, and high fives all around!

Mr. Ortiz left a special message for his fellow veterans over on our YouTube channel.