Twelve years ago, the United States came under attack. Many can remember exactly where they were, the moment they heard the news that two planes had crashed into the twin towers in New York City. Scarier yet more crashes were being reported, and no one knew when or why another attack might occur.
Panic hit hard.
Marvin Lovell, a young 19 year old boy from Brooklyn was working in the city that day. At the time of the attacks Lovell was working in an apartment complex preforming inspections, when the apartment’s tenant who barely spoke English started frantically pointing upwards.
“I didn’t know what she wanted,” Lovell says in a serious tone, “I told her I was only responsible for the inside of the apartment, not the roof but she continued to very animatedly point up, so I decided to go look and all I saw was smoke”.
At the time Lovell was already considering joining the service, he wanted to participate in the advantages the service offered like education reimbursement, and a chance to see the world, but he was still on the fence.
Once 9/11 hit, he asked to be placed in the military at the earliest possible availability.
He joined the Navy, because it was the first military branch that had availability.
Lovell ignored all his friends and family when they told him not to go, “I was really touched by 9/11, I didn’t listen when my boss told me not to go, that it would be dangerous. For me all I wanted was to do something patriotic”.
In 2002, Lovell was deployed with the Navy to Iraq during operation Iraqi freedom, where he worked as an aviation technician.
“It was such an important job to me, the pilots who operated the aircrafts, that you were in charge of fixing trusted you with their lives”.
“That’s a pretty important job,” Lovell says with a proud smile.
At first adjusting to the military life was hard for Lovell, he recalls one profound moment when he had to send his civilian clothes home, “it was like they (the Navy) really wanted you to recognize that you were no longer a civilian, you are here to do a job”.
There were moments when a 6 ft tall, Lovell only had two minutes to eat, or had to jump out of bed for countless drills, at various hours of the morning and night; drills that taught him to not think, but to just react.
And because of this engrained ability to react, not just in himself but also in his fellow unit members, it provided Lovell with a sense of calm and comfort, in a war-zone of constant, but organized chaos.
“I was surprised by the constant camaraderie we all shared, we were a team. You meet these strangers, and then you learn about them and because you go through all the same experiences with them you really connect”.
In 2007, after his contract was complete, Lovell had to really consider if he wanted to re-up, which was a difficult decision for a man who spent almost half of his young adulthood over-seas.
“I knew that if re-signed, I would be in the military for another 20 years and I thought it was time for me to experience a civilian life, to get back to school and learning”.
And so far that is what Lovell has done.
He is currently attending Keller Graduate School of management so he can obtain his MBA. While also participating in the V.E.T.S program at Sharp Decisions Inc; a program that helps to train and hire post 9/11 veterans, like Lovell.
Lovell says he never wants to stop learning that he thrives off education.
“The military was very eye-opening, I had many experiences that taught me that in order to be successful you have to seek out advice and take it. Learn as much as you can, and then continue to return the favor and help share with others what you have learned.”
In the next year Lovell hopes to receive his MBA, and continue on to live a successful hard-working civilian life.