Military service sets soldier up for success
November 11, 2020 —
Masonry carpentry specialist to associate underwriter isn’t a typical career path, but for Chris Bradham, SageSure team member, it was his military service that put him on the ideal route to a fulfilling career.
“The biggest thing I learned being a soldier was hard work dedication,” said Chris, who served in the Army from 1986 to 1992. “No matter what job I did it was always at 100 percent.”
Like father like son, Chris is a self-described military brat. His family moved four times growing up with a father who was First Sergeant and gave 22 years of to the service. Military service isn’t the only thing Chris shares with his dad. They both express a strength to rise above adversity and strong dedication to family.
“I was born in Savanah, GA at Hunter Airbase where my dad was stationed before he went to Vietnam,” Chris said. Another stop for the family was Bamberg, Germany. “I think it was the best time of my young life,” Chris said about his time there. “Facebook has brought that all back for me because I can connect with them.”
Accustomed to so much moving around growing up, Chris found himself bored in his first year of college and decided to join the Army Reserves.
Chris and his cousin, Derrick Franklin, went through basic training together as part of the buddy system in Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri. When training was complete, Derrick stayed in school and Chris went on active duty. At the age of 19, he took his first active service in Korea, the best duty station of his career he said.
“I went to the Seoul Olympics and got to see Roy Jones and Florence Griffith Joyner,” said Chris. “I saw Roy Jones in the ring the first time there and followed him his whole career.”
Serving as an engineer battalion masonry carpentry specialist said he never really used those skills but did learn to drive a dump truck. “I didn’t even pick up a hammer once, but dump trucks are pretty fun,” he laughed.
Chris met the mother of his children, two girls and a boy all grown now, when he was stationed in Colorado Springs, CO. His son was born when he was serving in Desert Storm. They didn’t meet until his son was two. “That was the hardest part for me,” Chris said.
After six years, Chris left active duty with a degree in business management and Army Accommodation Medal and an Army Achievement Medal. “My military service was short and uneventful,” he said.
Then, at 25 with three kids to support Chris was working two jobs but didn’t see a future in either.
He dabbled as a sous chef and then someone told him about a position answering phones. Without a shirt or tie to his name, no office experience and a resume that was three lines long, he jokes, Chris found himself sitting at an interview to answer phones for an insurance agent.
Chris didn’t have insurance experience; he wasn’t savvy with a computer and had never filled documents before.
“I shook his hand and went on my way,” Chris recalled, not feeling very good about the interview. But he still remembers the agent’s words, “I like who you are.”
It was on a whim, nearly two weeks later, that he crossed paths with the person who told him about the open position. She encouraged him to call back – and he did.
The agent said of all the candidates, Chris was the only one who followed up. He offered him the position and Chris started a week later. Twenty years have passed and it’s clear Chris has found his fit.
“Insurance was by accident, to be honest,” he said. “If it wasn’t for him, I don’t know where I’d be today.”
Chris is an associate underwriter for SageSure out of the Houston, TX office. He reviews inspection reports and fills in the gaps for the of work overflow and projects in the underwriting department and does so with the same commitment, discipline and patience he learned in the military.
“If the military hasn’t taught me anything else it was to be dedicated and responsible for your own actions,” Chris said. “Whatever spot you’re in it’s up to you to do the best you can. Once I got out, everything they taught me I took with me. It was the best experience of my life.”