June 2019 Scholarship Recipients
David Appleby (Bradenton, FL) enlisted in the Air Force at the encouragement of his brother. “He had enlisted before me and really motivated me to enlist, too.” He spent his years on Active Duty working as a Personal Affairs Specialist, handling awards and decorations. During his tenure in the Air Force, he was awarded Airman of the Month and very nearly qualified for Airman of the Year. “The time I spent in the military was very rewarding,” David says. After leaving the Air Force, David quickly earned his insurance license and has been working in financial services ever since. “I’ve always had a yearning to be an entrepreneur and work for myself,” he says. In 2002, he opened his own firm and started focusing on the financial side of the practice. In that time he earned his ChFC®, CLU®, and CASL® designations, but he has his sights set on more education. “If I’m going to be in the financial services industry, I want people to know I’m dedicated to my craft. Getting additional education is important to show people you’re committed.” David will be completing the Retirement Income Certified Professional® (RICP®) program, which will provide him with the cutting edge knowledge he’ll need to better serve his retirement-aged clients. “I love seeking knowledge,” David says. “And I’m never satisfied with where I’m at.”
Cameron Brown (Norfolk, VA) is a mechanical engineer with the Army National Guard, working on the development, maintenance, and transition of government vehicles. “Anything that rolls,” Cameron says. “Tanks, trucks, cars, HumVees, FOBs (Field Operating Bases). It’s been great, it’s been fun. I’ve had a lot of opportunities that the Army has provided.” Cameron has developed a reputation for being a go-to guy with financial matters, and spent some time managing the JROTC courses in Ft. Polk. “I tell them – don’t blow your money – that’s probably the first thing. They are college kids and some are going into active duty and on deployments, so they’re going to be seeing a large sum of money at one time. I tell them not to rush it – you can learn a lot more if you just sit back and watch.” Currently a Senior Financial Analyst with Liberty Source, Cameron has big plans for his future and says his ultimate goal is to start a hedge fund company. To gain a solid financial services foundation, Cameron is undertaking the Chartered Financial Consultant® (ChFC®) designation. “Everyone wants to be financially successful,” he says. “If I can help in any way, shape, form, or fashion, that’s the biggest goal for me.”
Michael Flynn (Cranford, NJ) was inspired to serve by the men who came before him. “I come from a long line of serving in the Armed Forces – my dad, my uncle, my grandfather,” Mike says. “It was something I always wanted to do – serve my country, travel, and educate myself. If was a real rewarding experience for me.” During his four years in the Air Force, Mike worked as a Financial Services Specialist. Upon his transition to civilian life, Mike took his interest and experience and made a career out of it. “I was always in financial services,” Mike says. “I started out as a messenger on Wall Street before the Air Force. I worked my way up.” He spent the beginning of his career in the back office working as a securities examiner for FINRA, and then taking a few compliance officer roles. “Then I decided I wanted to get into the other side of the business and help people.” Mike already has his CFP® designation, but he wants to gain more expertise to help the evolving needs of his clients. He has decided on the Retirement Income Certified Professional® (RICP®) program, which will, as he puts it, “take my business to the next level.”
Angela Grumbach (Ft. Rucker, AL) is the spouse of Army Sergeant First Class Danny Grumbach. Angela and Danny grew up 90 minutes from each other but met while he was stationed in South Korea. “I graduated from college in 2010 and there were no jobs at home,” Angela says. “I heard about an opportunity teaching English overseas, and I packed up and moved there.” Less than a year later, they were married. Originally from a marketing background, Angela was managing a sales team at Pinehurst Golf Resort in North Carolina. “It was a great job,” she said. “But my husband received orders, and we had to move. I needed a job that would travel with me. I also really wanted to help people in a meaningful way.” A friend recruited Angela for a position at First Command two years ago, and she has never looked back. “At first I was just looking for a career, but I discovered a passion,” she says. To further build her skills and develop her passion, Angela will be pursuing the Chartered Financial Consultant® (ChFC®) program and wants to go on to sit for the CFP® exam.
Rufus Hunley (Austell, GA) spent four years in the Army and was deployed to the Middle East in support of Operations Desert Storm and Desert Shield. Upon his separation from the Army, he went on to have a successful career in Law Enforcement, from which he recently retired. For the last two years, Rufus has been working as a full-time licensed financial services professional and is loving it! To further his education and experience, Rufus will be completing the Chartered Financial Consultant® (ChFC®) program. Gaining this education will allow Rufus to be a go-to person in his community. “It’s not enough for me to learn and move on,” he says. “I want to immerse myself.”
Gabriel Jimenez (Sacramento, CA) spent four years in the Marine Corps and calls his time serving, “a great base point for my life.” “It’s reflected in everything else I’ve done,” he says. Gabriel followed his time in the Marine Corps with a nearly 20-year career in architecture, but he is ready for a new challenge. “In the last few years, everything’s changed for me and I want to start working with people.” Gabriel was introduced to financial services in 2016 and has been working part time as a licensed insurance agent since then. Recently, he was presented with the opportunity to own part of an agency and he jumped at the chance. “I’ve made this business my second career, part time, but I’m ready to take it to the next level and go full time.” To further his immersion into a new profession, Gabriel will be completing the Financial Services Certified Professional® (FSCP®) program, which will equip him with the product knowledge and planning skills to hit the ground running. “I strongly believe that after completing a tour of military duty, there’s really nothing I can’t accomplish,” says Gabriel.
Christopher Merrill (Chalan-Pogo, Guam) is a retired Marine Corps Major and Naval Academy graduate with 20 years of service under his belt, including four deployments to Iraq and one deployment to Afghanistan. The son of a Green Beret and Vietnam veteran, Chris says that his father’s service inspired his own. “From fourth grade I knew the Naval Academy was where I was going.” While on Active Duty Chris attended a presentation from a First Command District Advisor and the experience resonated with him. “I didn’t even think financial services would be something I’d be interested in, let alone love,” he says. “It tickled me that with this company clients don’t need fistfuls of cash to have a relationship with a financial advisor. That was important to me because most troops don't have much money.” Chris, his wife, and their six adopted children have lived in Guam since Chris’s job in the Marine Corps sent them there in 2012. “It’s been a really amazing experience,” he says. “We love the island, the people, and the hospitality. They are the reason we decided to retire here.” As one of the only First Command advisors in Guam, Chris takes his responsibility as a fiduciary seriously and wants to expand his skillset by completing the Chartered Financial Consultant® (ChFC®) program. Trained to think “Mission-first, Marines Always,” Chris says of his new role, “Being able to pass on knowledge and resources, and build relationships with my clients – that’s now the mission.”
Richard Mohammadi (Wasilla, AK) has had a 27-year career in both the Army and National Guard, and has spent much of that time in Alaska. Currently at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, Richard plans to spend a few more years with the Alaska National Guard before transitioning back to financial services. “I like the planning process and helping people realize their dreams,” he says. Already a holder of the Masters of Science in Financial Services (MSFS) and the LUTCF designation, Richard wants to further develop his knowledge and skills by completing the Retirement Income Certified Professional® (RICP®) program. “I have watched the demographic trends of our society and believe a great opportunity is presenting itself,” Richard says. “Earning the RICP® will increase my knowledge and skill set in servicing the retiring segment of the population. I don’t like seeing people work hard for retirement and not being able to retire as they planned.”
David Slater spent 10 years in the Army Reserves, specializing in Psychological Operations (PSYOP) with secondary training in the Arabic language. During his tenure, he was sent to Iraq twice, as well as South Korea and Morocco. Upon his separation from the Army, he completed his undergraduate degree and worked with refugees for a few years – many of whom were interpreters for U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. When he shifted toward financial services, he dove in headfirst – studying for his Series 66 and 7 (and passing them). He joined First Command in 2015 and became a full advisor at the beginning of 2016. “I’m enjoying it,” David says. “It reminds me of my job as a PSYOP soldier; it’s all about behavior change and helping clients make smart decisions.” Now that David has his feet under him in this new profession, he is looking at the future. “Having done this for three and a half years and doing well in the company, I’m looking for education to enhance my knowledge.” To better serve his retirement-aged clients, David will be completing the Retirement Income Certified Professional® (RICP®) program.