News Channel 11 is launching a new series called “Veterans Voices”. Every week, we’ll share the stories of veterans who call the Tri-Cities Region home. You can nominate a veteran HERE.

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — In the summer of 1993, David Bennett was fresh out of high school in Unicoi County, and a conversation with his Mother helped him see that his path forward in life was clear.

Photo: David Bennett

“At that time it was, ‘Hey – if you haven’t gotten into school or on at Eastman or if you are not going to work at the hospital, the military was the way to go,” Bennett said.

In no time, Bennett said the military exposed to a whole new world of vigorous training and new perspectives.

Photo: David Bennett

“It’s a stew of everybody from around the world,” he said. “You come together and you adapt. They make a man out of you in a positive way.”

Bennett became an Army forward observer attended Jump School and the Ranger Indoctrination Program. He was assigned to the 82nd Airborne and was deployed to Haiti for Operation Enduring Freedom.

After his term of service in the Army came to an end, Bennett joined the Tennessee National Guard and went back to school at Northeast State Community College.

Then came a decision he never expected.

“One day at Northeast State, I ran into the Marine recruiter.”

In no time, Bennett enlisted in the Marine Corp.

“I went and started all over,” he said.

Photo: David Bennett

Boot Camp at Paris Island was the start of the journey that led Marine David Bennett to an assignment in Washington D.C. providing security for the White House Communications Agency. By 1998. Bennett’s second time of service was over. In the year’s since, he’s built a life here in the Tri-Cities and says he’ll always be grateful for the life lessons he learned and the chance to serve his Country.

“I’m grateful for the opportunity. It is life changing in a very positive way.”