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Intern Exceeds Expectations With VetsWork Program
Updated October 12, 2016 7:32 AM
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matt carrell.jpg

(BEDFORD) - Matt Carrell joined the Tell City Ranger District last winter with a new program called VetsWork.

The VetsWork program was developed by Mt. Adams Institute and sponsored through AmeriCorps. This opportunity connects veterans with the Forest Service or other natural resource agencies for career development.

Carrell is working as a Natural Resource Technician Assistant. The job includes training across a broad range of natural resource fields. He has had an opportunity to work in timber, fire, recreation, botany and many other fields.

Carrell was born in Chicago, but grew up in Terre Haute. He originally earned an Associate's Degree in High Performance Motorsports at the University of Northwestern Ohio. After working in an automotive shop for a year, he decided to join the Navy. Carrell served in the Navy for six years as an In-Flight Technician fixing Avionics systems while in flight. Carrell explained, with a grin, "I served 6 years as a crew member on the P-3 Orion out of Hawaii, where I saw the world, mostly flying above it." After the Navy, he was ready to come back home to Indiana.

The VetsWork Program helps veterans get jobs after their service in a natural resource field. The job is an internship which entails a rigorous training plan which prepares the intern for a variety of possible natural resource careers in different agencies.

Carrell plans to go back to school and get a job dealing with forestry or natural resources. "One of the benefits of this internship," said Carrell, "is that it has given me a good feel for all the possibilities of the different career tracks I might want to take, and has convinced me more than ever that this is the kind of work I want to do."

As part of the VetsWork program, Carrell is required to accomplish a service project. For his project, he chose to set up a booth at Adventures with Nature Day. He taught people of all ages basic survival skills including, navigation and fire building. Another project he has worked on includes controlling Non Native Invasive Species (NNIS) of plants around the Rickenbaugh House and the interpretive trail associated with it. Carrell said, "I've quickly learned how invasive plants are everywhere and what a daunting task this is. It has given me a whole new outlook for how important it is to manage native plants and not let invasives take over an area."

Carrell will complete his internship December 30, 2016. The Hoosier hopes to hire other VetsWork interns in the future. For more information contact the Tell City office at (812) 547-7051.

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