From Serving our Country to Serving our Members: Six Sam’s Club Associates Share their Stories of Service

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Nov. 11, 2020

In honor of Veterans Day, we are proud to highlight six of our superstar associates with military backgrounds who continue to serve their communities every day.

In 2013, Walmart pledged to hire 250,000 new veteran associates by 2020, establishing the Veterans Welcome Home Commitment (VWHC). Earlier this year, the company surpassed this goal with over 320,000 veteran associates hired and more than 44,000 of those associates promoted to roles with greater impact at Walmart and Sam’s Club.

Let’s meet some our vets and military fam!

Ruby Rodriguez – Call me Ruby the Riveter.
Ruby is a proud U.S. Navy veteran turned Pharmacy Technician at Sam’s Club. From operating power tools and repairing Navy ships to working behind the pharmacy counter at Sam’s Club, Ruby sees no limits to what she can accomplish.

“My time in the Navy taught me I can do anything I put my mind to and my success in my role at Sam’s Club is proof of this,” Ruby said.

And this is just the beginning of her journey. Motivated to continue helping her community, Ruby’s next goal is to head to Pharmacy school to become a licensed pharmacist. You can do it, Ruby!

Joe Krzywicki – Looking for the Sam’s Club spirit.
Joe, a Member Specialty Manager at a Sam’s Club in Iowa, grew up going to Sam’s Club with his grandparents. After serving in medicine units during his time with the Air Force, Joe cultivated a successful career in sales and project management, joining Sam’s Club in 2018. He uses his experience as a long-time member, veteran, and leader to motivate his fellow associates and fearlessly advocate for all members who come into his club.

“I was drawn to Sam’s Club because of the company’s spirit of unity and service,” said Joe. “My time in the military taught me it’s okay for us to be imperfect people, as long as we strive toward a common goal of togetherness—to make each other a little bit better every day—and that’s what we do here at Sam’s Club.”

David Drinan – From submarines to Sam’s Club.
David, a Senior Product Manager in the Sam’s Club engineering department, joined Sam’s Club after more than seven years of service in the U.S. Navy. While on active duty, David served as a submarine warfare officer and later as a foreign intelligence analyst.

From navigating submarines to launching successful technology products, he is not afraid to dive deep into problems. Bringing his background in critical planning and analytical savvy to Sam’s Club, David helps create cutting-edge technologies that deliver a secure environment for our members’ omni-channel experiences.

“Each submariner absorbs a mind-boggling amount of knowledge to become experts at everything they do. In that regard, I strive to learn something new about our Sam’s Club business every day and use that search to identify problems and seek out solutions,” David said.

Cindy Grunert – Quilting with a purpose.
Cindy is a Tire Technician by profession and group leader of Quilts of Valor by passion. Inspired by her veteran father-in-law, she works with Quilts of Valor, a nonprofit organization supported by Walmart, to provide comfort to veterans touched by war. In collaboration with the organization’s network of quilters, Cindy tirelessly creates and presents handmade quilts to veterans across Wisconsin.

In the Sam’s Club community, she has awarded custom quilts to all veteran associates in her club, organized efforts in nearby clubs, and presented Sam’s Club’s VP of General Regional Manager Operations and U.S. Army veteran, Rob Burns, with his own quilt earlier this year.

“It is an honor for me to be able to honor those who have served our country,” Cindy said.

Freddy Martinez – Happy wife, happy life.
Military spouses might not have the epaulet or the medals, but they play a big contributing role at home. “My wife and I are separated for long periods of time when she is stationed in another part of the country or deployed,” said Freddy, a Backroom Associate at a Sam’s Club in Texas and a military spouse to a U.S. Army Officer.

But Freddy tells us that having unwavering support and a mutual understanding is what makes a long-distance relationship work. “I’ve learned how to support my wife and communicate within our relationship, and that’s helped me be a better person at home and a better teammate at Sam’s Club,” he said.

As Freddy celebrates his 1st year with Sam’s Club, he is thankful for the opportunities and community he has found in his club and looks forward to growing within the company.

Samuel Talley – Mission possible.
Samuel joined Sam’s Club 20+ years ago after he wrapped up eight years in the United States Army as a Tactical Psychological Operations team member. During his two-decade career with Sam’s Club, he has climbed the ladder and taken on a variety of roles including overnight stocking associate, team leader, assistant manager, and now a Club Manager in Missouri. Samuel attributes his success at Sam’s Club to the learnings he gained during his deployments in Iraq.

“My military service is a large part of who I am today. It helped me understand that every member of a team, regardless of the role, is vital to the success of the overall mission,” said Samuel. “In Sam's Club, just like the military, it takes every associate, in every role to succeed.”

Sam’s Club appreciates our veteran associates for their service and the invaluable insights they bring to their different roles across the company. This Veterans Day, we thank not only our veteran associates, but all veterans, active military personnel, and their families for everything they do.