Growing up in a small town where poverty is real, opportunities are scarce, and futures are not clear Nate Messer knew he would have to do something to be sure he did not become a statistic. He knew what he wanted for his future, but was unsure how to get there.
After high school Nate decided to join the Army National Guard. During his time there he proved to be a true soldier, and at the age of 22 he was promoted to Sergeant. When his service contract ended with the army he began working for JJ Masonry. It was a good job and good pay, but because of the struggling economy he was laid off work. Nate was now in a predicament, trying to find a job, and “wondering if the next day he would be in a soup kitchen. “
Nate would pass road crews every day, and saw what they did and how they made a difference in the community. He knew that this was the career he wanted to pursue. He had two interviews at the state road department but they were unsuccessful. This is what he wanted to do, and knew he would have a bright and promising future if he could obtain the job. Nate remembered in high school he worked with KCEOC Kentucky Career Center Jobsight in Barbourville, KY in the ‘Lets Go to Work’, a summer youth program. In 2009 the program helped him and others. He knew from the previous failed attempts that if he wanted to obtain a career with the state road department he would have to have training that would put him ahead of the other candidates.
While at the Jobsight Center, Nate received help with his resume, interview skills, how to properly fill out applications, and gaining the needed confidence to fulfill his dream. He knew the final step would be to have his Commercial Driver’s License. The Dislocated Worker Program was out of funds. Becky Miller, Workforce Services Director, at the KCEOC Kentucky Career Center Jobsight sent in a request to get additional funding from Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program (EKCEP). EKCEP approved the funds to be used for the training. Nate attended the trainings, took his test, and he passed! He applied for the position again with a new resume, new awards, new accomplishments, and a new license.
In September 2013 Nate, knowing this was his last chance at obtaining a job at the State Road Department, walked into the interview with his mind made up that he was, “Going to blow this out of the water,” and was ready to impress the interviewers with his new found confidence and experience. As he sat and began the interview process Nate was at ease. About twenty minutes into the interview they began a casual conversation not related to the job. As he stood up to leave the interviewer said, “You did well.”
The interviewer told Nate that he would receive the notification through the mail or by email. Nate stayed glued to his email, and checked the mail every time he went out. He had a missed call but when he called back they offered him the job! Nate accepted.
The news gave him and his wife relief because three days after the job offer they found out his wife was pregnant. This put their family at ease, and he knew that they would now have a bright stable future.
Through the help of KCEOC Nate and his family are now self-sufficient because of the help they received. When asked how he sees his future he answered, “Stable.” He wakes up every morning happy and ready for work. He said that he knows now what he can and can’t do. He can plan for the future now, will have retirement, be able to retire in 28 years, and can provide for his family. He also said, “I know I will never be rich, but I will be comfortable. I own my house, my car, and other things. They may not be the greatest, but I know they are mine.”
Nate gives back to his community every day in different ways. He served four years in the Army National Guard, and was promoted to Sergeant at only 22 years old. He received awards during his service which include Certificates of Training, Leadership Awards, Infantry Training Awards/Certifications, and the Army Achievement Medal. One of the best things he learned while serving was that it is all about accountability and team work.
Nate also received an Outstanding Service Award presented to him by the Governor of Kentucky, Steve Brashear, for his assistance with the 2009 winter storm in Western Kentucky. Nate went above and beyond to ensure the safety of stranded citizens. He would bring them food, take them for medical emergencies, make sure they had shelter, and provided emergency services. He went above and beyond and did not stop. He said, “In times of crisis you can lie down and do nothing, or do something about it.” And that is exactly what Nate did, he helped others and asked nothing in return.
As a state road worker he helps people every day. While working with the State Department Nate and his crew keep the roads safe and drivable, conduct clean ups, waste management, and clear roads when there is snow or ice. He has been thanked by police officers and medical responders, for his work they said they couldn’t do their jobs without this assistance. Also, he works with inmates at the local jail on clean ups, and calls it an honor to work with them. He takes this time to speak with the inmates, help build their confidence, encourage them, and help them find their achievements. “Everyone deserves a second chance, and I am happy I have the opportunity to guide them in the right direction.”
Finally, Nate is a Deacon at this church. They voted him in because of the strong faith and morals he possesses. Some of his duties include ensuring members of the church have shelter and food, making sure the church is maintained, and any other duties that need completed. He uses this opportunity to teach others morals, values, belief, guidance, help others get established, and he says that he helps other because “everyone deserves a shot at a bright future.”
Nate would like to thank KCEOC, and the people, who helped him along his journey. “From the bottom of my heart, thank you. I couldn’t have done this without you all. Without the people at KCEOC, who are willing to go out of their way to help, I have gained the tools I need to have a brighter future. There is something special about them, or they wouldn’t help people. It takes people like that to make a difference in the world, going out on a limb for people to have success. If I can do anything to help them I will definitely be there.”