From Service to Solidarity: J.D. Wilson's Journey to Veterans of Steel

This story is part of a larger series introducing you to our Vets of Steel coordinators. Check out our news section for more.

J.D. Wilson's journey from the U.S. Navy to the USW is a story of dedication.

As a former Military Working Dog Handler, Wilson's military career was marked by discipline, camaraderie, and a strong sense of purpose. These qualities translated into his role with the USW, where he now serves as a District 8 Staff Representative and the Districts Vets of Steel Coordinator.

In the Navy, Wilson epitomized commitment and resilience. As a MA2/E5, he specialized as a Military Working Dog Handler, tasked with critical missions like locating people and bombs and safeguarding U.S. assets.

His military service was not just a job but a continuation of a family tradition of serving the country, a tradition proudly carried on by his son in the U.S. Army. Wilson's military experiences honed his leadership skills and ability to work under pressure, qualities that would greatly benefit his future role in the USW.

After his military service, Wilson found a new avenue for his leadership. Vets of Steel, designed to support and integrate veterans into the union, resonated with Wilson's desire to continue serving a community and union. As a Staff Representative and Coordinator for the Vets of Steel program, he educates members and advocates for veterans' needs within the workplace.

He takes pride in assisting veterans with mental health resources and fostering a supportive community, particularly for those in V.A. centers who often lack visitors. His efforts have provided tangible help and conveyed a powerful message that the USW cares deeply about its veteran members. Wilson's work in District 8 embodies the core values of the Vets of Steel program—unity, support, and advocacy for workers who have served in the military.

JD Wilson

When asked what he was most proud of in the program, J.D. responded, “One of the biggest things I am personally proud of is getting a few veterans the mental work help they needed after they had thought the world didn't care. Without Vets of Steel, we may never have been able to reach them, so they know we are here for them.”

J.D. Wilson's transition from the military to a pivotal role in the USW highlights the seamless integration of service values into union solidarity. His story is a testament to the potential of veterans to enrich and strengthen the labor movement.

The USW's Veterans of Steel program offers a platform for veterans to continue their service in a new capacity, advocating for workers' rights and welfare. As more union members become aware of this initiative, they hope to recognize the immense value and experience that veterans bring to the labor movement, further strengthening the bonds of solidarity within the USW.

Click here to learn more about the Veterans of Steel program, or to connect with your district coordinator.

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