In celebration of Black History Month, I had the exciting opportunity to interview Maurice Wilson. Wilson is the co-founder and president of National Veterans Transition Services, also known as REBOOT Workshop™. We're delighted to highlight this tireless community leader and small business owner. Read his inspiring journey from active duty to civilian life, and how he used his lifelong passion for improving the lives of others to help fellow veterans transition to civilian life.
Expanding the Family Business
In 1973, Maurice left his hometown of Chicago to carry on the family legacy of military service. His brother and father were both Marines. He joined the Navy as a hospital Corpsman. It wasn’t long before he saw a Black man in the role of Master Chief Petty Officer (MCPO). At that moment, he realized he’d underestimated how far he could go. From then on, his ultimate military career goal was becoming an MCPO. With dedication, 23 years later Maurice reached his goal. But when it came time to leave the service, he found himself in search of a new identity.
“I knew what it meant to be in my uniform as a Master Chief, but that didn’t mean the same thing in the civilian world. I had to ask myself, 'Who am I now? Who should I be?' When I left the military, I had to come up with a new me—it was sort of like an identity crisis,” said Maurice.
Initially, Maurice shifted gears to technology and earned his master’s degree in Telecommunications Systems Management. But in 1998, he made an even bigger switch to full-time nonprofit work serving the local Urban League. He spent over a decade working toward racial equality for minorities and Black Americans.
Where True Passion Can Take You
During this time, Maurice recognized his true passion: improving all phases of life for members of his community. He knew it was time to tackle another problem close to his heart. Just as fighting racial injustice had called to him, he now wanted to support servicemembers in transition. In 2010, he founded National Veterans Transition Services, a nonprofit of his own, and REBOOT was born.
“I knew I wanted to make a difference in people’s lives—that’s the kind of person I wanted to be. I wanted to get things done and figure out how to really move our community forward,” said Maurice.
Maurice and REBOOT aim to soften the transition from military to civilian life. REBOOT focuses on how military training and skills can translate into the civilian world through various workshops and seminars. Maurice and his team help veterans find their new, personal identity outside of the service.
He expressed how important it is for veterans to find ways to integrate their military leadership qualities into their new life after service. This is vital in bridging the gap between their two worlds. He recalled experiencing friction when he first worked with civilians. He learned that he didn’t have to ditch his military skills; he just had to adapt them.
Caring for Veterans at Every Stage
Using research-based, outcome-driven methods, REBOOT workshops focus on 3 critical areas:
- Personal Identity
- Lifestyle Transition
- Career Transition
REBOOT also has a transition workshop designed specifically for female veterans, who asked for more tailored assistance. Just as Maurice had done his whole life, he saw a need and responded. And the company isn’t stopping there. It’s working with the military to implement localized Centers of Military and Veteran Reintegration. These centers will make the transition experience accessible across the country. They’ll be located in areas with many veterans returning from active duty.
Maurice has turned one of the biggest challenges of his life—transitioning out of service—into an organization that’s empowering veterans across the country. It was a privilege to speak with him about his many successes. On behalf of Navy Federal Credit Union, we thank the REBOOT team for all they’ve done for both the Black and military communities. We’re honored to celebrate you, Maurice Wilson. Thank you for your membership.
Author Bio: Madison Rafferty has been with Navy Federal since 2019 and serves as a Corporate Communications Strategist for the Marketing and Communications department. Madison leverages communication strategies and integrated marketing tactics to reach and engage Navy Federal members and stakeholders. She lives in Richmond, Virginia and enjoys spending her free time reading, exercising and enjoying the company of her loved ones.
REBOOT Workshop is a trademark of National Veterans Transition Services, Inc.