Meet the Veterans: Lynda McWhirter
UMB is fortunate to have several veterans on our team, and we’re proud to hire veterans in our local communities. This series highlights some of our associates who have served their country in the military prior to joining UMB. Be sure to check out the other profiles in our series.
Q&A with Lynda McWhirter, United States Army Sergeant
Tell us about yourself!
I was born and raised in New Castle, Del., where I spent my first 17 years. I left for the military two weeks after my high school graduation.
What about your past shaped who you are today?
My parents started the foundation of shaping me (although I didn’t recognize it back then). I give a lot of credit to them for my morals and compassion. The military shaped me in my formative years to learn respect, drive, ambition, perseverance, work ethic and discipline. My children helped shape me emotionally, as those of us who have children know, there isn’t any other love like it.
Tell us about your family.
I have four children; three girls and a boy, the youngest being 19 this year. I met my husband Brian, in Kitzingen, Germany, where we were both stationed. All of my children currently live in the Kansas City area.
Why did you choose to join the military?
I listened to a career counselor in my senior year in high school who talked about the military. I initially wanted to join the Navy. However, there was a long waiting list at the time, and I couldn’t leave until the next year. While I was talking to the Navy, an Army recruiter stopped me and told me I could accomplish the same thing in the Army that I could in the Navy – and there wasn’t any waiting! So I joined on the Delayed Entry Program in March of my senior year and left in June. I wanted to travel and to go somewhere other than the boundaries of the tri-state area (Delaware/New Jersey/Pennsylvania).
What do you remember most about your military career?
I took Basic Training in Ft. McClellan, Ala., during the hottest time of the year! My first highlight was an incredible feeling of pride that I’d never felt before. It came when I was standing in dress uniform in military formation at graduation, and they passed by with the American flag, playing the National Anthem.
I went on to Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md. Maryland, for my Advanced Individual Training, then to Ft. Lewis, Wash., near Seattle, then on to Kitzingen, Germany.
What I remember best from my career is surviving basic training, firing the M16, throwing grenades, driving a tank, touring Germany and the endless number of friends I met along the way. I spent four years in the regular Army and two years in the Reserves at Richards-Gebaur Air Force Base, and was promoted to Sergeant along the way. My Military Occupational Specialty (MOS), or my job, was initially a small equipment repairman. I still find that job interesting. My secondary MOS was an administrative specialist. I did my first MOS for about six months and then spent the rest of my military career as an administrative specialist – like what Radar did on M.A.S.H.
What impact did the military have on you?
When I was in the military, we were the last women’s group to go through basic as WACs (Woman’s Army Corp) and we were still highly segregated from the men in infantry. After my experience as a female in the military I remember wondering just what it was going to be like before I left for basic training, so I decided to write a book about it. I gathered some instances of what I remember some of my fellow female soldiers had gone through and some experiences of my own, intertwined them, and created the character Leslie. I took her on a journey from high school through military life in The Changing Winds of Destiny‡ (pen name Anna Douglas).
What are the greatest challenges that someone leaving the military and entering a new career faces?
One of the greatest challenges of the transition from military to civilian life is the emotional one. The feeling of security and belonging you feel in the military can seem to fade as you venture into the work world and corporate America. Because everyone is away from their families in the military and you don’t always go home to them every night, the people you are stationed with become your family. You depend on them for almost everything, including having your back in the direst of circumstances. When you enter the work world, the strong camaraderie might be there with other co-workers but not as strong as it was in the military. Sometimes that can be a hard transition to make.
What are your favorite ways to spend a weekend?
I enjoy reading, writing and being outdoors, especially camping, boating, swimming, fishing, playing with my dogs or just working in the yard. In the winter, I like to snowmobile.
How did you come to be at UMB? What made you want to work here?
I was transitioning from another job and applied online. My daughter, who is in the banking world, talked to me about UMB and told me I should apply because she always heard that it was a great place to work.
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Mrs. Lynda McWhirter is a Payroll Supervisor for UMB Financial. She, along with a great manager and team, are responsible for making sure you get paid every two weeks! She joined UMB in January 2015 and has 20 years of experience in the payroll/financial services industry.