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A Veteran’s Journey

A local veteran shares his gratitude for his military experiences

When Scott Pryor was just 20 years old, he made a decision that would impact the trajectory of the rest of his life. “It was 2006 and 9/11 was still fresh in our minds,” he recalls. With a strong call to service, he entered the U.S. Army as a Special Forces recruit.

Pryor, an Ahwatukee resident and Project Manager at Clarity Construction Group in Gilbert, would go on to serve his country 11 years. During that time, he was part of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division as an infantryman who rose through the ranks to serve in a variety of leadership positions.

“Everybody does something in their 20s,” Pryor says. “In mine, I served my country and, because of that, became a better person. I’m glad I got to do that.”

He shares that his military career took him across the globe. “I served in Kuwait for seven months as a part of Operation New Dawn. I was part of the last group of people to leave Iraq right before Christmas 2011. It felt very exposed and scary; like I was a small part of history. I was honestly just ready to be home for Christmas though.”

During his time in the Army, Pryor learned Korean, went to sniper school, was a squad leader among other leadership roles, and began his education at Grand Canyon University (GCU). He wrapped up his time as a recruiter in Canandaigua, New York. “Those last couple of years of recruiting were really my give-back years,” he shares. “I became a part of and served the community.”

He adds that while he enjoyed his time in the military, getting married to his wife Caitlin and becoming a father changed his priorities and he opted for civilian life. Since being honorably discharged in 2017, Pryor earned a bachelor’s in business administration from GCU and a master’s in global management from Thunderbird School of Management. He found a love for management and worked for a short time in Denver before settling back home in Arizona.

“My whole family is here in the Valley and it’s an amazing place to raise a family,” he says.

When he reflects on his time in the Army, Pryor says that he’s grateful and has no regrets.

“Arizona has one of the highest populations of veterans – we’re everywhere. Don’t be afraid to engage in conversations with us and ask us questions,” he says. “I learned so much in my service and am so thankful it impacts me positively to this day.”

Conversation Starters

Questions to ask a veteran.

 

1    Memorable experiences

“One of my favorite questions to be asked is ‘Do you have any funny stories from basic training?’” Pryor says. “In fact, one of my favorite things to do is to get together with friends and share stories from our time in service.”

2     Lessons learned

“What did you learn in the service?” can help to spark fascinating conversations about what veterans learned during their time serving their country. You might gain new wisdom too!

3   Impactful thoughts

Pryor shares that a great way to engage with a veteran is to ask them how their military service impacts them today. As a civilian, do they work in the same field as they did in the service? Do they value certain things post-service? Did their service impact their life trajectory?

4    Why?

Asking a veteran why they chose to serve can inspire dialogue and reflection. What’s their why?

5   Thank you

Telling a veteran thank you for their service can help them feel seen and appreciated. Don’t forget that this can happen all year round, not just on Veterans Day.

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