Memorial Day: Veteran Success Story

Sergeant First Class, Adam Pugh is no stranger to hard work. At the  age of 21, Pugh made the admirable decision to enlist in the army. Before enlisting in the army, Pugh attended college and worked in oilfield construction.

Pugh said the economy tanked shortly after he finished high school and the army was his fall back option. “I only planned on staying in for 3 years, I wanted to stay in long enough to pay off my college bills.” Pugh quickly realized he was made for the military life. Pugh said he was able to perform well in the army  because he was mature and able to deal with the challenges of the military. Eventually he decided to stay in beyond his first three years. “I started to excel in the military, and knew right away that I wanted to continue to serve my country.”

He served for a total of 17 years. Pugh worked as a supply sergeant and helped with logistics. Supply sergeants are responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of all army supplies and equipment. By the time he retired, Pugh was a Sgt. First Class or an E7. It took many years of hard work and sacrifice to achieve his rank. After 17 years of service he was forced to retire because he was diagnosed with a chronic kidney condition.

Pugh was born in New Jersey in an Army hospital, and lived on military bases before he moved with his family to Louisiana where he spent his childhood. Pugh was stationed in a few different places during the years he served. Eventually, he decided to make his home in Jacksonville, Florida.

When Pugh first moved to Jacksonville, he started working at Professional Pavement Products. Pugh has always loved to work and enjoyed his time there as a Warehouse Technician. But, in 2008 his kidneys failed, and he was no longer able to work.

Fulfilled Life: After spending a few years at home, Pugh was anxious to get back to work. He was referred to the ILRC from the Social Security Office. He started working with Toccara James from our office. James helped Pugh begin the process of going back to work. Pugh said Toccara helped him figure out how to return to work while still receiving his social security check. “Toccara guided me through the whole process of going back to work, she’s been extremely helpful.”

Pugh started work again on March 21st. He went back to work for his previous employer, Professional Pavement Products. Not only  has Pugh been able to go back to work, but he earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Phoenix, and two associate’s degrees. When he is not busy with work, Pugh can be found volunteering his time at the Disabled American Veterans Chapter. He is a volunteer service officer, and helps veterans with their benefits. “I received a lot of guidance, when it came to going back to work, so I enjoy helping others.”

Pugh goes to dialysis 3 times a week for his kidneys. “I go to my treatments, but it doesn’t interfere with my work schedule, my job has been great about working with me.”

Pugh said the best part of working with Toccara at the ILRC is realizing he could go back to work again. “I never thought I would be able to go back to work again,” he said. “But, Toccara showed me it was possible.” Pugh said he believes there are many misconceptions about going back to work with a disability. “A lot of people don’t go back to work because they are afraid of the consequences, they are often afraid of losing their income, or Medicare, and to a disabled person that is their lifeline.”

Pugh said that Toccara could not have been more helpful in guiding him through the whole process. One of Pugh’s favorite quotes is by Calvin Coolidge. “There is no dignity, quite so impressive, and no independence, quite so important, as living within your means.” Pugh was able to partner with the ILRC, and make his personal independence a reality.

Work Incentive Planning Assistance: Here at the ILRC, we have certified benefits counselors who can help provide persons with an individualized plan to help consumers make informed choices about employment. To learn more call us at (904) 399.8484 or click here:

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