Running in the Sand
Tuesday, November 1, 2022
by: Chris D. Daniels, MPA, CAE

Section: Executive Director's Remarks

When I was young, I could run like a gazelle. In high school track, I would run two miles and then run another mile during the same track meet. If there was anything I was confident in at that age, it was that I could run and I really enjoyed running. Fast forward a couple of years later to my Army Basic Training at Fort Bliss, Texas. Running in the sand in combat boots in 90-degree heat was very different than the conditions I was accustomed to running in where I grew up in Pennsylvania. You might say I experienced what is known as a paradigm shift—the first of many that I would experience during my military service. Running was suddenly very difficult, and not at all enjoyable. My situation had changed and what had worked for me in the past wasn’t serving me as well anymore. I had to shift my mindset and adapt!

If you are a veteran, I am certain that you could share similar experiences. To borrow a phrase from Stephen Covey, these experiences train our 
“mental muscle,” so that we become more flexible and adaptable to overcome life’s unpredictable challenges. In the military, it was necessary for survival and it’s a trait that becomes ingrained that continues to serve us through the rest of our life. It is also one of several reasons why veterans perform well in local corrections.

This issue of American Jails features an article about the Washington State Department of Corrections and the impressive program they have put in place to recruit veterans. Staff shortages are a crisis in prisons and jails, and this article essentially serves as a playbook of strategies that jails can also utilize to increase their success in recruiting veterans I want to express my heartfelt gratitude to the veterans who work in corrections. Your prior service to your country and now to your local community is commendable. We are proud of you and deeply appreciative of all that you have given to ensure the safety of our nation and our communities.

Thank you for your service!
Executive Director
American Jail Association
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