DaVita® Stories

DaVita Veteran Rediscovers His Sense of Belonging

Ever since I left the United States Army, I have felt a sense of something I struggle to even find the words for. It is not a sense of perceptible loss per se, but something I can clearly say was here at one point and gone at another. A time where I felt a sense of true purpose and belonging, only to be once again somewhat lost after I hung up my uniform after 8 years of active duty service.

For many veterans like myself, regaining a sense of purpose can be one of the biggest hurdles we face today. A regular routine and the camaraderie of fellow service members are pillars of military life, and for some veterans, losing those familiar support systems can be quite challenging, as is the case for me all too often. While some days are tougher than others, I am working diligently to find my renewed purpose in my life outside of the military.

While I know many support programs exist for veterans like myself, I always found myself avoiding it because I could never remove the emotional armor I wore confidentially after I left the service in 2013. I found comfort behind this armor in an effort to avoid hurt, shame, and anything that could expose the vulnerability and emotion I possessed from leaving behind something that made up so much of who I am. But then I attended DaVita’s Veterans to Village program in San Antonio, and my entire thinking and approach to a renewed purpose was realigned and ignited within.

The program was thoughtfully planned out and truly catered to our veterans of all branches. It gave us the opportunity to converse in both large and small groups, allowing us the ability to express our emotion in a safe setting, without the opportunity for judgement.

Our veteran guides and teammates from DaVita’s Wisdom team did a great job of facilitating conversations and never tried to psychoanalyze our experiences. Rather, they gave us the time, space, and caring attitude to let us interact with other veterans in attendance. I also thoroughly enjoyed the mission we were given of helping the Salvation Army in Downtown San Antonio. This service project allowed us veterans to work side-by-side once again in order to achieve a mission of helping the local community.

Ultimately, the content of the program provided me the tools necessary to begin removing pieces of my emotional armor in an effort to be more vulnerable to many different matters. Not to mention, it truly helped me to realign my strategy to find my true purpose and belonging outside the uniform.

The strategic mix of the Veterans to Village program has helped me in more ways than one. This program is a tremendous outreach to our country’s veterans and I am proud to be an alum of this great group of veterans. Thank you for this opportunity and I’m happy/eager to help in the future where I can. One for All…

Bernard Olsen

Bernard Olsen

Bernard served eight years as a counterintelligence analyst in the Army. In 2016, he joined DaVita as an IT Project Manager in Brentwood, Nashville, where Bernard is responsible for the overall direction, coordination, implementation, and execution of IT projects; ensuring consistency with the Village’s IT strategy, commitments and goals.