SAN ANTONIO - Five-year-old Emma Grace takes a picture of her father, Johnathan, as he walks the stage for a special graduation.
Today, Johnathan Reyna officially finishes a 23-week long program at USAA called VetFIT. VetFIT is a program within USAA that allows veterans to train and eventually begin a new career with the company in the Information Technology field.
"I didn't have a very easy transition from military life to civilian life," Johnathan Reyna said. "I enjoyed the Marine Corps. It gave me a lot of the strengths that I have, and it helped build the character that I have today. It was really hard for me to walk away from it."
In 2013, Reyna was medically retired and suddenly thrown into civilian life looking for a job. His wife, Samantha, saw her husband work hard to find the right fit after the days as a Marine were gone.
"I think a Marine is what he always planned to be," Samantha said. "That's what he always wanted to be. When he could no longer do that, he really lost his sense of self and identity. Through the VetFIT program, he's been able to find a renewed sense of where he is going with his life and it is given him a second chance to have another dream."
USAA began the VetFIT program in 2014 to identify, train and hire veterans for key roles within the organization. The Veteran IT program was designed to provide comprehensive software development training and an internship for the veterans involved.
After Friday's graduation, 86 veterans have completed the course and are now working inside USAA's IT infrastructure.
"Talk about someone that's going to be a dedicated and loyal employee who is open to feedback and seeks to improve continuously," USAA IT. Director Brian Parks said. "You can't just create that kind of character."
"Talk about someone that's going to be a dedicated loyal employee who is open to feedback and seeks to include continuously put improve you can't just create that kind of character."
Today, 18 graduates finished the VetFIT program and can now begin their new jobs. USAA has set a goal that at least 30 percent of its new hires will be veterans or military spouse.