"We do whatever we can to help veterans transition from the military to a civilian job"

Many soldiers act selflessly to defend their country and compatriots. For Bob Deissig '67 (political science), those selfless acts extend beyond the battlefield, having a lasting impact on those in the armed forces. The Baldwin, N.Y., native arrived at Bucknell in 1963 as a wrestler with law-school aspirations — and left with a commission in the Army. After basic and ranger schools, Deissig deployed to the fierce battleground of Vietnam's Mekong Delta.

During his service, he rose to the rank of company commander and saw heavy action. While he prefers not to discuss it, his heroism is apparent: he was awarded two Silver Stars, four Bronze Stars (three with "V devices," for valor), two Purple Hearts and the Vietnamese Cross for Gallantry. But the inspiration he was to servicemen and women did not end there.

After a long career — including a stint at Electronic Data Systems (EDS) and co-owning two recruiting firms — Deissig retired in 2007. A year later, Carl Blum, an old acquaintance from the recruiting world, approached Deissig about helping veterans find jobs after returning from deployments. Deissig agreed, bringing his career full-circle — right back to helping his fellow veterans. Deissig and Blum established the Tip of the Arrow Foundation at the end of 2008. "Our mission has never changed," he says. "We do whatever we can to help veterans transition from the military to a civilian job."

Deissig and Blum have cultivated a network of volunteers that help enlistees with résumé writing, interview skills, job searches and networking. They don't promise veterans a job, but they do promise to make them as competitive as possible. Since its inception, Tip of the Arrow has helped 300 veterans secure jobs.

Despite his myriad successes on and off the battlefield, Deissig cites working with veterans as his greatest accomplishment. "The biggest advantage of being a combat veteran — there's a level of trust that's there," Deissig says. "They see me as part of the brotherhood."

Posted March 2013