Meet the Team – Aaron Goletz
Each month we like to provide a little insight in to our team at Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at Centerstone- Clarksville by highlighting a team member in our employee spotlight. This month, we had no question who that would be – data manager Aaron Goletz. Aaron is not only an irreplaceable magician when it comes to numbers and analytics, he is a veteran and National Guardsmen. This past year, he spent his time proving his commitment to not only his teammates here at the clinic, but to his country. Aaron deployed to the Middle East this past June and while having his soldiers’ backs in theater he continued to support his fellow veterans and military families at the Cohen Clinics at Centerstone by providing us with valuable data, ensuring our clients continued to receive the best possible care. Although current circumstances prevented us from welcoming him home in a large fashion, we couldn’t be more grateful to have him back. Here is a quick look at Aaron and his thoughts of working at the Cohen Clinics at Centerstone.
What inspired you to become a data manager? Finding a path in civilian life is one of the hardest things I’ve done, so ever since I succeeded in my transition I’ve wanted to assist other Vets to do the same. I just had to find the right way to assist. For me, it’s supporting the professionals and those that have the calling for therapy and mental health work.
What do you hope for your clients/your contribution to the clinic? I want to be able to provide the best possible support to our therapists and staff and to highlight both the progress our clients make and the great work their providers are doing.
What’s the best part of your job, or what makes it rewarding? Analyzing the 1s and 0s to be able to show our Veterans that they are improving and our providers that their work is helping!
Why the Cohen Clinics at Centerstone? Cohen is dedicated to focusing on Veterans and Families, not the money. I like that.
Is there a reason you chose to work with veterans? As a soldier, one of your greatest Ethos is to never leave a falling comrade behind. For me this extends beyond the service, so I’ve always wanted to find a way to help my brothers and sisters succeed beyond their service years.
Does working with veterans and families add to how you view the significance of your work? It gives so much more meaning to what I do every day. The data is not just numbers and code, it’s a person who has gone through similar struggles as my own.
Aaron returned home in April. He and his family are spending quality time at home and loving every minute of it. He’ll be joining us back in the clinic as soon as physical distancing guidelines allow. Meanwhile, we have another unique look at what his deployment meant also in this month’s newsletter. Please read on to see Aaron’s wife, fellow Centerstone’s Military Services colleague, Anna Goletz, explain in her own words what this past year has been like for her and her family as they waited for his return.
One of Our Own Shares Heartfelt Story of Deployment
Putting the emotions a military family endures during deployment into words can be difficult. It seems almost insurmountable to truly give justice to the myriad of feelings that flood a person as they watch a loved one board that plane for parts unknown or to honestly depict the fear as they wait patiently at home for their return. This past year our Cohen Clinics at Centerstone data manager, Aaron Goletz’s family experienced all of that. His wife, Anna, and their three children remained at home eagerly counting down the days until husband, father and friend was in their arms again. Anna is a fellow Centerstone’s Military Services colleague who helps ensure fellow military families receive the care they have rightly earned. She is no stranger to military life, but knowing the unique challenges doesn’t necessarily make the hard journey through a deployment any easier. We are proud to have both Aaron and Anna as part of our team and honored that they chose to share their story with us. Here is a look at what Anna had to say in her own words about her experiences this past year.
I have been a military spouse for 13 years, my husband has served in the active duty Army and Tennessee National Guard. My experiences with those lifestyles have been both drastically different and eerily the same. Aaron left active duty at Ft. Campbell in 2006 following his second year long tour of duty in Iraq, and joined the Tennessee National Guard. We were married in 2007 and started growing our family while Aaron served in that capacity. For 13 years we lived and worked as civilians and Aaron would attend drill and trainings once a month and three weeks in the summer. It felt like a good “step down” from active duty, a way to stay involved with the military and serve, but in a part time capacity so that we could begin careers in the mental health field.
In 2018, we got the news that I honestly didn’t think I would ever get again. Aaron would be deploying to the Middle East for a third time, this time for nine months; and this time I would be home with our three children who weren’t even born yet when he deployed the last time. In my role as clinical services manager for Centerstone’s Military Services, I spend the majority of my time taking care of Veterans and other military spouses who might be struggling with the invisible wounds of war, and the relationship issues that often times accompany military family life. But in August of 2018, those feelings were suddenly all too close to home.
Aaron and I have three children, ages 11, 8 and 4 and I work a full time job. I would be lying if I said that it wasn’t a struggle to maintain a household, parent three children who were experiencing big emotions that they couldn’t grasp and weren’t used to, and devote my time and energy to my career; all while my own heart was broken and missing my husband who was across the world. I feel extremely fortunate to have worked for Centerstone during this deployment. Not only did my colleague’s support me, they showed in so many ways they cared, so did Aaron’s Cohen Clinics at Centerstone team. They sent him regular care packages and even surprised me and my children with a Christmas we’ll never forget. That kind of support is incredible and I was beyond grateful for it. At the same time, I recognize why so many of my fellow military spouses are unable to continue working full time and care for their children, all the while trying to focus on their own mental health and self-care. I was blessed to have the support of so many. This deployment offered me a renewed sense of empathy for military spouses, and also provided me with an internal sense of strength I never knew I had.
Aaron was gone for 305 days. When he first left I couldn’t even fathom a “countdown for ten months”, so the children and I made smaller countdowns that helped us celebrate small victories. I downloaded a few countdown apps on my phone and would watch as we inched closer to our goal. I used college football season as a way to mark weeks off, Geaux Tigers! I would tell myself, look forward to Saturday, watch the game, and then pat yourself on the back for another week finished. Aaron sent me flowers at the end of each month as a way to congratulate us for another month down. I took the kids for ice cream and pizza when we reached 25%, 50% and 75% done. This helped to break down the unimaginable into feasible goals which was a visual reminder for the kids as well as myself, that we were indeed getting closer to having our Dad back.
Aaron returned home one week ago, and as I write this I feel the emotions very close to the surface. Life has returned to “normal” for us, as normal as it can be during the COVID-19 pandemic. We are reintegrating and spending as much time together as we could ever want. Some mornings it feels surreal, I spent almost an entire year alone, without my best friend and now he’s back and it feels like he never left, until of course I look back on the time when I was called upon to be the strong one, and while I don’t feel as though what I was asked to do compares with what our service members do each and every day, I am proud of what my family has accomplished and I look forward to helping others navigate this life we have chosen.