02 Nov Senior in Action – Tony Davis
Marilee Marrero Stefenhagen
Former County of LA Public Library Administrator is having the time of her life as a retiree; meeting fascinating people who are active seniors, and volunteering for Soroptimist International of Norwalk and other women’s groups.
NOT BORN YESTERDAY
Senior in Action – Tony Davis
as told to Marilee Marrero Stefenhagen
I was born in 1967 and raised in a small town in Virginia called Louisa. As a sports lover, I played basketball, football and baseball, and received numerous awards for outstanding play and dedication as an athlete. In fact, the Little League baseball team for which I played second base and pitcher won the Virginia State Championship in 1979. My older brother Carlton played the same sports, and Dad coached our baseball team. My parents never missed a game.
After graduating from High School in 1986, I enlisted in the U.S. Army at the age of eighteen. Following basic training at Fort Dix, NJ, I was stationed at Fort Gordon in Georgia and trained as an Electric Repairman. At the next assignment at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, I received training for my new job as Personnel Records Specialist to ensure that personnel information was accurate in the military ’s records.
During “Police Call” we were assigned to pick up litter on base. South Carolina weather is HOT, and the guys who smoked were given a break, while the non-smokers kept working. I didn’t smoke at the time, but my buddy said, “Smoke ’em if you got ‘em.” I would bum cigarettes from the smokers so I could take a break too.
My first duty assignment was in Schweinfurt, Germany. From 1987 to 1989 I worked in the Regional Processing Center. After Germany, I was transferred to Fort Lewis, Washington in 1990. In 1991, I became a Patient Administration Specialist in Seoul, Korea. I worked with administration at 121 General Hospital to register patients and assign rooms. In 1993-94, I was in Honduras at the Soto Cano Air Base Military Hospital where I was tasked with arranging transport of injured or deceased personnel back to the U.S. My ETS (Estimated Time of Separation) occurred March 1996 at Madigan Army Medical Center in Lakewood, Washington.
After leaving the military, I became employed at Multicare Medical Group in Tacoma, Washington. I also met Rachel in 1996, and socialized with Rachel and her two sons but it took me seven years to propose. Rachel and I married in 2013 and she keeps us both in shape by dragging me to walk at the mall while she shops.
In 2000, I hired on with Mission Foods Distribution and was eventually promoted to Warehouse Supervisor. I was responsible for the daily operations and shipment of products along the West Coast. After seven years of warehousing, I passed the Federal Postal Exam and worked 8 years for the U.S. Postal Service. In 2015, I was medically retired from the Postal Service due to my military service disabilities and muscular dystrophy.
Rachel wanted to move to California to be closer to her family. We settled in Norwalk and I decided to be the first in my family to attend college. I completed my Associate’s Degree at Cerritos College in Summer 2018. I maintained a GPA of 3.070 while completing the Medical Assistant program and made the Dean’s List in Spring 2017. The military teaches you to stay on course and complete the mission. I’m currently taking classes needed to transfer to CSU Long Beach next year with a major in Healthcare Administration. My goal is to become part of the Veteran’s Administration (VA) Hospital in Long Beach, helping that facility become a leader in providing the greatest health care in the nation.
I perform work-study hours at the VA Hospital in Long Beach. I enjoy giving back to the community by working with fellow veterans, saying, “Thanks for your service.”