My name is John Schmitz. I work in a maintenance position at Island in the Sky in Canyonlands National Park. I can honestly say I never would have dreamed that I would be living and working in a national park, yet here I am, married and with a 9-month-old son who will one day have a love and passion for the outdoors.
My military career began in 1987. I enlisted in the US Army as an infantry soldier. That career took me around the world. With the 101st Screaming Eagles I was deployed for Desert Shield and Desert Storm for nine months. After 12 years and as a Sergeant First Class I transitioned to civilian life. This did not last long—after the towers were hit on 9/11, I knew it was time to come back. This time I enlisted into the US Navy, and for eight years I was a master-at-arms. Serving in the military was never about a paycheck for me as much as it was a loyalty to my country—a sense of pride and honor.