With her home state 7,000 miles away, the last thing Amber Mitchell expected to hear at a Hiring Our Heroes panel at Ramstein Air Base in Germany was someone talking about Wisconsin. But there was Mission Wisconsin’s Steve Janke on stage next to recruiters from Amazon and Toyota. They were pitching quality job opportunities–Janke was pitching Wisconsin’s quality of life.
Amber grew up in Wisconsin and always planned to return after transitioning out of the military. But she never really thought about what the state had to offer newcomers or what benefits Wisconsin offered to veterans and their families.
After the panel, Amber remembers finding Janke to tell him how excited she was to hear someone speak so passionately about her home state. They exchanged emails and Janke told her to reach out when she returned in a few months.
Amber returned to Wisconsin in July of 2019 after 21 years in the Air Force, much of that time stationed overseas in Japan and Germany. Before she had a chance to contact Janke, he reached out to her.
“Transitioning out of the military is a tough pill to swallow. I was most worried about leaving my military family. When Steve emailed me ‘welcome back to Wisconsin’…it really made me feel that people cared. Just that email made me feel better about the road that was ahead of me.”
Janke helped her connect with several Wisconsin’s veteran benefit programs. One of the first things she did was get a free fishing license from the Wisconsin DNR.
“Whenever I used to talk about being from Wisconsin, people would always say one of a few words: beer, cheese and the Packers. I would always say, yes, we have all of that but there’s so much more! The outdoors has a lot to offer. I like fishing and just being in a beautiful setting. I love spending time with family up north without all the distractions of normal life.”
Amber has plans to join the local VFW or American Legion once she gets more settled, but for now, she’s busy working for the U.S. Postal Service and building a house using her federal VA home loan benefits.
If you’re a transitioning service member considering Wisconsin, know that no matter where you land within the state there is a local County Veterans Service Officer who will be able to help you and your family connect with the benefits you’ve earned and the community you’re seeking.