Honoring Veterans 2017: Dawn Duman – Delaware State Parks Veterans Conservation Corps

Dawn Duman

My name is Dawn Duman. I grew up in Newark, DE. I joined the United States Air Force in 2004.  After graduating high school and working for a few years, I wanted to do something more with my life. I had thought about the military in high school, but was never too serious about it. Joining the Air Force was one of the best decisions I ever made. I served for four years and, during that time, lived in Virginia and Turkey as a military photographer.

After separating from the military, I decided to use my education benefits and went to college to earn a bachelor’s degree. I spent four years going to school while also raising my two daughters.

Most of my work experience has been in an indoor, office environment. After finding myself unemployed in 2017, I received an email about AmeriCorps Veterans Conservation Corps from my local Veterans representative at the Department of Labor. I thought it would be a good opportunity to not only work, but get some exercise while doing it. I wanted to step out of my comfort zone.

During my time with the Veterans Conservation Corps, I have learned about different types of plants and how to either preserve or remove them. I have learned how to properly and safely use herbicide chemicals, operate a chainsaw, and have done a lot of hiking! This program is physically challenging, but that is one of the reasons I signed up for it, so I can’t complain.

I have had the opportunity to meet and work with many other Corps members from the numerous state parks throughout Delaware. In my opinion, this program is very good for networking. I greatly enjoy working with other Veterans and family members of Veterans. The program has a sense of camaraderie that I experienced in the military. I would recommend this program to other Veterans who are willing to work hard and have a good time doing so.

As for my future, I am not completely sure of where I would like to take my career. I enjoy working in the parks and believe that if I want to pursue a career with Delaware State Parks, this program will help me get a step closer to achieving my goal.