Deep Conversation Between Brothers Leads to Military Career

Kevin Hughes in dispatch tower on airfiled in Iwakuni, Japan in 1998

Kevin Hughes sitting in the Dispatch Tower on the airfield in Iwakuni, Japan, in 1998.

The youngest of seven brothers and sisters, CORT CRM Manager, Kevin Hughes, grew up in Northern Kentucky. Shortly after graduating from high school, Kevin found himself in a very deep conversation with his eldest brother, Alan, about what he should do with his life.

The brothers landed on two options – one, Kevin could pursue the pharmacy degree he started acquiring college credits for through a program at his high school and Northern Kentucky University to complete his pre-pharmacy technician training, or two – he could enlist in the military like his brother Alan, who was a sailor in the US Navy.

Alan thought Kevin had potential, but he needed some drivers put in place to help him realize his greater potential. He told Kevin to put “some skin in the game” and enlist. Being a bit of a smart aleck, Kevin told his brother that if Alan was in the Navy, then there had to be a more difficult branch of military for him to join. That led Kevin to enlist in the Unites States Marine Corp. Less than 60 days later, Kevin was standing on the famous Yellow Footprints on Parris Island, South Carolina, beginning his training and laying the foundation for his future.

Kevin started as an E-1, Private in the Marines. He was stationed all over the U.S. during his eight years of service – from Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, where he received his military combat training; to the Lewis F. Garland Fire Academy in San Angelo, Texas; to Cherry Point, North Carolina, which was his first Duty Station.

Kevin spent over three years in Cherry Point, learning various jobs and engaging in training around the US, allowing him to advance his education. For those of you who may not know, Cherry Point falls within the trajectory of NASA’s Space Shuttle. What that means is if there were any type of in-flight emergency during a shuttle launch, it would be diverted to the Cherry Point location for assistance. Thank goodness their services were never needed, but Kevin and his team were fully trained and ready if they were ever called upon to help. One benefit to the training was the opportunity to spend a couple of weeks every year with NASA assisting in the writing of their training references. Kevin believes that this experience is what led him to become a technical writer for the training department of the largest paid fire department on the east coast of the U.S.

Kevin’s Military Occupation Specialty (MOS) was primarily known as a 7051, which is an Aircraft Rescue and Firefighter Specialist (ARFF). ARFF’s are the firefighters in the big yellow trucks and the silver suites working on airfields. Additionally, Kevin was a National Registered EMT on all of his deployments. After eight years of service, he was honorably discharged as an E-5, Sergeant.

Kevin started in the furniture rental business in 1999 working with a company that was later acquired by CORT in 2008. In 2009, CORT hired and relocated Kevin from Nashville, Tennessee, to Atlanta, Georgia. Kevin has held several positions in  CORT, from distribution manager to operations manager in CORT’s Atlanta District, to sales and training manager for the corporate office, and finally his current position as CRM manager.

During his time with the military, Kevin learned several professional, and life lessons that guide him with the decisions he makes and strategies he implements in his day-to-day role at CORT. He believes that one of the most important things to focus on is how you treat your co-workers and team members.

“I guess when you look back at all of the little life lessons you carry with you every day, I hold one particularly close to me,” said Kevin. “Know yourself and always seek self-improvement. You should always be in a state of improving yourself and your team.”

Since early 2012, Kevin has been faced with a very tough life lesson – fighting an extremely rare form of cancer. “Without the support of my co-workers at CORT, I have no doubt I would be in a very bleak state of mind.”

Kevin also has the love and support of his wife and their beloved pets – three dogs and a cat.

Thank you for your service!