Veteran Employee Story – Ray Pappion

Hillsborough County, Florida, Sheriff’s Office

Pursuing the Tried and Tested

Published in the November/December 2011 issue of print Search & Employ®

Ray Pappion is a master sergeant with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office in Tampa. He’s in his 25th year of service with the office. Before he joined the office, Pappion was in the Air Force. He retired in 2003 as a senior master sergeant with 23 years of service.

“As a veteran, I am very proud of the sheriff’s office and how we pursue military veterans for hiring, as well how we handle employees that serve in the National Guard and Reserves,” he said. “In my position with Special Operations, I spent a great deal of time deployed between 1991 and 2003. You wouldn’t believe stories I’ve heard from my soldiers regarding their treatment by their employer because they were being deployed. The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office has always made deploying military employees and their families a priority.”

That priority pays off. “Veterans make good employees because they have already been tried and tested,” Pappion said. “In this day and age many young veterans leaving the military have done and seen more than a young person should have to. As a result, these veterans know who they are and what they want when seeking employment. They are not searching for an identity.”

A dedication to service is just one of the reasons veterans will find a home at the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office. “Military veterans have a sense of service to their country and to their community,” he said. “The business of law enforcement is to provide a service to the community. This is why military veterans fit so well for the sheriff’s office. In a front line role or a supporting role, military veterans see the bigger picture.”

The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office has a lot of opportunities because there has been tremendous growth. There are currently vacant positions in law enforcement and detentions. “Additionally, with such a large agency, there are also a number of great opportunities in supporting positions such as Child Investigative Services, Court Services, Communications, Community Service, Vehicle Maintenance, and many other areas,” he said.

Pappion said that servicemembers shouldn’t wait until they are out of the military to search for jobs. “With the current deployment tempo, you are coming into contact with active duty as well as Guard and reservists from around the country. Do not limit your job search to your local area. We all want to be home with extended family after leaving the military. When I left active duty after six years of serving overseas, I also wanted to return home to Louisiana to be around family. I found a job right away, but it was not in law enforcement. I enlisted in the military as a foundation for a career in law enforcement. So I moved. Don’t limit yourself.”

But don’t forget about taking care of yourself, too. “Stay in shape,” Pappion said. “Don’t let yourself go in those few months after leaving active duty. Enjoy your friends and family, but remember you may be applying for a position that will require a physical assessment. If the position you want is not available at the time you apply, look at other options that are available.”

About the Author

This article was written by Jay Myers