T-Mobile Celebrates Military Appreciation Month, Part 1: The Ally
By Shawna Ryan, T-Mobile Stories
As the country honors its servicemen and women this month, T-Mobile renews its lead sponsorship of a nonprofit helping veterans and their families meet the challenges of life after the military. In the first installment of this three-part series, we bring you a special story of how this employee found herself demonstrating what Military Appreciation Month in action truly means.
“I’m often asked how we got connected with Warriors & Quiet Waters,” says Paula Timmons, a T-Mobile director of Government Affairs in Washington, D.C., with a smile. “I guess that would start with me. In the back of my head, I kept thinking of my friend Laura and her husband Drew. Laura and I have been close friends for almost 20 years and over that time, watching her with Drew, I knew I wanted to be an ally for her — be a better friend for her.”
Our story begins here, with this simple thought from an ally. This small but mighty space held for allyship led to a path that’s connected three people to a cause, as well as a commitment to each other, that they never could have expected.
Paula says in her role she sees herself as an ambassador for T-Mobile, sharing its policies and values with policymakers on Capitol Hill. She says as the daughter of a Navy Captain and the sister of a brother who served in the military, she found herself focusing on Veterans Affairs and the work the company was doing to serve its veteran employees and community.
Paula says she was working on a project to find underserved rural markets in need of the benefits of fast and reliable connectivity, when she met officials from the state of Montana. She was invited to represent T-Mobile at an event with Montana Senator Steve Daines. While there, she struck up a conversation with a few men who said they were on the board of an organization called Warriors & Quiet Waters.
“I learned they were all veterans who suffered from some kind of PTSD,” says Paula. “One of them even brought a service dog to lunch that day.”
She says they described their mission at Warriors & Quiet Waters as helping post-9/11 combat veterans and their families thrive by building a support system and sense of community through outdoor excursions like fly fishing. Sensing that Paula was really interested in their work, she says they asked if she thought T-Mobile might be interested in learning more and sponsoring one of the biggest events they were planning that year, called the Warrior Taste Fest.
“I knew right away I wanted T-Mobile to be part of this event in our new Bozeman Montana market,” says Paula, “but I found myself constantly thinking about my friend Laura. Knowing she was an avid fly fisher and knowing what she had been going through with her husband Andrew, I just felt like I needed to make that connection.”