During the month of May, Southern Nuclear will celebrate Military Appreciation Month, honoring the important role the U.S. military has played in the history and development of our country. This week we’re highlighting veteran John Long, Shift Support Supervisor at Plant Hatch, and learning more about his time in the military and how it’s influenced his work at Southern Nuclear.
When and why did you join the military?
I entered active duty service with the Navy in 2005, right after high school. My reason for joining the military was twofold. Just four years earlier, I sat in a freshman English class and watched the horrific events of September 11, 2001, unfold. Following that, I watched as Americans came together in unity in the face of a shared struggle, during times of uncertainty. I knew I wanted to be a part of that. The second reason I joined the military was because I had spent 2 1/2 years as a homeless teenager. I worked two part-time jobs, attended high school, and slept in a car that I parked at night in the parking lot of one of my jobs. I knew I did not want to become a statistic that they would share on the nightly news, so I used the Navy to drive myself out of the situation I was in.
What is your role in the military?
While I was in the Navy I served as a Master at Arms. I did police patrol and investigative work, performed detainee operations and personal security assignments, and safeguarded some of our nation’s most strategic assets.
Have you been deployed recently? What did your deployment involve?
I have not been deployed since 2005-2006.
Is there anything you wish others knew about serving in the military?
I tell young people all the time that joining the Navy was one of the best decisions I ever made. The Navy fed me, clothed me and paid me. What the Navy gave me most was the discipline I desperately needed. Serving in the military teaches you how to truly be of service to others. If your teammate fails, you fail. If your teammate succeeds, you succeed. If your teammate needs your help, they should never even have to ask.
How has your military service influenced your work at Southern Nuclear?
My military service helped instill a dedication to want better, achieve more, and never give up. It taught me servant leadership and how to be a part of a high-functioning team. It prepared me for the importance communication plays in our business. The military taught me a sense of pride.
What does Military Appreciation Month mean to you?
The fact that Southern Company is so good to its veterans and current serving military members means a great deal to me. The support the company provides to those employees is a huge benefit to working here. Southern Nuclear observing Military Appreciation Month is another example of why this company is continuously ranked highly among veteran job candidates.