Appleton, Wis. (WFRV) – “I had to prove something to myself. If I could cut it there, I could make it anywhere.” Making it in the U.S. Marine Corps-That was what David Holst felt he needed to do to prove himself.

So after graduating high school in 1985, he enlisted.

“I didn’t think it was gonna be that easy, but I didn’t think it was going to be that hard. That was an eye opener,” said Holst.

After boot camp, Holst was placed in an avionics unit, where he worked in a crew running communications for HMX-1, the presidential helicopter.

“So, those marines that stand at the bottom of the helicopter when the president gets off, that was my unit. So, I’m more of the behind-the-scenes, coding the radio, doing all the electrical work, establishing communications and a lot of behind the scenes stuff,” said Holst.

Holst served four years in the marines, but decided he couldn’t stay away from the military. He served another 17 plus years with the U.S. National Guard before officially retiring.

But his life of service wasn’t over.

“That’s always been there, as some kind of common thread, it’s always been something military-related somewhere along the lines. They say you’re a product of your environment right? Maybe that’s what it is,” Holst said.

Holst always knew that his path would include helping other veterans that’s why he took a job as the Outagamie County Veterans Services Officer. They help with everything from benefits to compensation but he says the umbrella is really much bigger than that  and he wouldn’t rather be doing anything else.

“Oh my gosh, this job is so wonderful. We get a chance to turn lives around on a daily basis and actually help people;” said Holst.

“There are some people that are so low on the economic ladder that they’re actually looking up to poverty, and then their lives turn around. Now we’re getting them benefits and income and it changes their lives.”