For those actively serving in the military, deployment orders can come at any time. Service men and women pause their daily lives, leaving behind their families, their friends, and their homes. Often to go overseas. But does that mean they have to pause their cell service? That’s where our Military Support Team comes in.
Led by Mike Sullivan and Andy Detchon, this specialized team helps military personnel manage their service before deploying. “The government passed the Servicemen’s Civil Relief Act in 2003,” Sullivan explained. “The law allows service members to unlock their devices for use abroad and, if needed, they can cancel and hold their cellphone number for up to 36 months with no penalties.”
Military members can reach out to our Military Support Team through a secured email or dedicated website to take advantage of these benefits. If they are serving outside an AT&T coverage area for longer than 90 days, this team can help by temporarily suspending service until they return. This takes the worry of not being able to use their phone and paying for service. Then when they return, their number and service plan will be waiting for them.
“It feels like we have a deeper purpose, helping customers that qualify for additional benefits per their deployment,” said team member Gypsy-Storm Davis. It doesn’t stop there, this team is always exploring new avenues, like chat services, to make assistance to these benefits even more seamless.
Being veterans themselves or coming from a military family, many members of the team feel a personal connection to the job. A Marine Corps veteran and member of a military family that goes back four generations, Sullivan is active in the veteran community and feels a strong calling to this work.
“I am very passionate about assisting our active military as they have stepped up to service our great nation and defend our freedom,” Sullivan said. “Doing all I can to make this process a great experience for our customers who are deploying is really what encourages me to keep doing it.” This sentiment is echoed by the rest of the team.
Supporting those who served and continue to serve is something that goes beyond just being a job for many team members. “Growing up near the Youngstown Reserve Air Base, I was part of the Explorer’s Group and have always had the utmost respect for our men and women serving. I believe supporting those on active duty is just a small step in showing our appreciation as a company for their sacrifices,” said team member, Barbara Robinson, who also comes from a military family. Her father was in the Army Reserves, her great-uncle served in WWII, and two other uncles served in the Korean War.
Amanda Whiteaker added, “It’s very satisfying helping make the lives of these customers a bit easier. They’re giving up so much for me as a citizen.” Fellow colleague, Taylor Burkley continued further, “There’s a feeling of happiness that comes with knowing you helped a military member get their services taken care of.”
Melissa Schwab recalled working on a case where a service member was already deployed and needed help with his service. Due to an error with some paperwork, it was a challenging case. Melissa worked with him and successfully was able to suspend his device. The customer was very appreciative.
“They give up so much for our country, so we should do what we can to support them,” Evangelos Zagorianos chimed in.
Supporting the Military Community
While team member Nathaniel Masterson was working customer support, he recalled a particular call, “I spoke with an elderly veteran who needed help with his plan. His wife had recently passed. I was able to help him with what he needed and talked to him for a bit. After the call, he thanked me because it was so long since he had a conversation with someone.”
Eric Heeter recalled a time as an Installation Technician. While setting up service for a Vietnam veteran, he had specific instructions that the equipment had to be out of view for the customer because of the customer’s experiences in Vietnam. This posed a challenge as he was unable to attach equipment to the building due to property management restrictions. He ultimately found a place that satisfied both conditions while ensuring it wasn’t too far to disrupt the connection. “It took a little longer,” he said, “But it was worth it to help meet the customer’s needs.”
Detchon shared a story of paying for a WWII veteran’s gas. “I even pumped it for him,” he said. “I then proceeded to thank him for his service and told him about my grandfather being a merchant marine during WWII. I then listened to him tell his story for about 30 minutes about being in the war.” The man thanked him for being a friendly face and they both walked away enriched.
Sullivan concluded by saying, “It is important for companies to support the active military community because they have signed a blank check payable for up to and including their lives so we can enjoy the freedom and liberty we have.”Learn more about military support at AT&T