From Executive Chef to Soldier Advocate… serving up success!

From Executive Chef to Soldier Advocate… serving up success! Courtesy Photo | Former Executive Chef turned Army Wounded Warrior Advocate Sean Patterson, addresses the annual AW2 Advocate Training in Tampa Florida on June 12, 2018. (Photo by MaryTherese Griffin)

By MaryTherese Griffin, Warrior Care and Transition

TAMPA, Fla. - Sean Patterson saw the world in the Navy and travelled through several career fields afterward, but the one he has been in since 2008 takes the cake.

“I’ve done many jobs in my life. I was an executive chef and once I transitioned into this career field my Veterans became my center plate,” said Patterson, an Advocate for the Army Wounded Warrior Program at the Veteran Affairs Hospital in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Patterson says he stumbled into this field after meeting a Veteran who processed a claim for him. That Veteran saw a main ingredient in Patterson, compassion, and groomed Patterson into what he is today. “As one of my mentors once told me, you can teach a monkey to throw a football, but you can’t teach him compassion.”

He says compassion is the heart beat of an AW2 advocate’s job. “Veterans know if you are sincere or not.”

The married father of two didn’t second guess his move into the advocacy business.

“There’s nothing more rewarding than getting up in the morning knowing you are going to work to be a vessel and affect a Soldier or a spouse’s life in a great way, ” said Patterson.

Patterson has affected thousands of Soldiers and families over the years and feels rewarded each time he hears of their successes.

“One of the most rewarding things is having a Soldier call me and tell me no one had cared along the way and he thanked me and gave me a letter of gratitude to my supervisor.”

Although Patterson has made an impact on the lives of the Soldiers and families he works with, he is hesitant to take any extra credit for his effort.

“It’s not anything extra, it’s just my job and I am humbled,” he added.