Appleton, Wis. (WFRV) – Appleton’s Josh Andreini needed a sense of purpose when he decided to join the U.S. Army in 2007.

“I didn’t have a lot of direction or discipline in my life, and that’s where I really turned to look into joining the military,” Andreini said.

It was when United States was increasing it’s troop involvement in Iraq, that Andreini decided to enlist in the Army.

“I thought maybe someday there could be a draft or maybe my neighbors, my friends, other people would have to be called to serve, and so if I could volunteer and serve my country maybe that’s one less neighbor or buddy or friend who had to go do that,” he said.

Always concerned about helping others, it’s always been in Andreini’s nature.

After basic training at Fort Hood in Texas, Andreini left for Iraq in 2008 with the First Cavalry Division, for Operation Iraqi Freedom.

His second deployment came in 2010 in Operation New Dawn, where he took on a leadership role, providing support to veterans struggling with depression.

“That to me was a very eye-opening experience and I really tie my journey into social work,” Andreini recalled. “That very first experience in the military and seeing first hand how deployments and being away from your family, and some of the cultural aspects of being in the military, how that can adversely impact soldiers and veterans,” he said.

It was after seeing what some of his fellow comrades went through that led Andreini to the Wisconsin Veterans Village Association, where he now dedicates his life to social work.

“When we transition out of the service, it’s an unclear process,” said Andreini.

“When I see that veteran making that connection to a resource or support that they didn’t have, and the improvements they can make in their life with that I think that’s what really keeps me in this and drives me to do what I do,” he said.

Andreini entered the military in search of his purpose.

Now, he’s found it.

“I try to have a mission for myself whether that’s every day, every week, every month and as long as I feel like I have that, I’m always motivated and dedicated to achieve my goals, to help other people be successful,” Andreini said.

“So, I hope that other people transitioning out of the military, they can find a purpose, find a mission for themselves, because they’re still important, they’re still a valuable part of our community, and sometimes we just might need a little reminder of that,” he said.