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Monday, October 24, 2011
Andre Randolph was only twenty, and preparing to deploy under Operation Desert Storm, when his right arm was shattered in a training accident. His immediate thought was, “I have got to get better.” After two years of surgeries and rehabilitation, he recovered, saying, “A large rod runs up my arm, I have two plates in my hand, and 28 screws hold my arm together.”
He intended on making the Army a career, but his injury forced his discharge. Andre worked for a time as a line supervisor at a company in New Jersey, but risked losing his Veterans Affairs disability benefits because of the strain it placed on his injured right arm. “When I do repetitive work, my whole arm will lock up and I have to let it rest. As I get older, the injuries hurt more,” he says. He retrained for a job as a biological technician, but could not find a position to his liking.
In March, Andre’s Veterans Affairs contact told him about job openings with Melwood, working on a new AbilityOne contract at Ft. Meade. He relocated from New Jersey for the job and now performs preventative maintenance on buildings at the growing Army base. Of his new job, Andre says, “When I got into the military, it was an enlightening experience. Working at Melwood is much the same-we all have something to offer.”