This week’s hero of the game comes from the smallest branch of the armed services, but one that is nonetheless vital to our safety and security. Brad Wolf is a recruiter for the US Coast Guard, a position that he transitioned into after starting out in maritime law enforcement. For Wolf, he hopes that this sort of exposure helps people better understand the role that the Coast Guard plays in our national security.
"The Coast Guard only has 50,000 people and every once in a while I meet somebody and they just don't know anything about the Coast Guard,” Wolf said. “So, it's just about bringing awareness."
Wolf, who grew up in a soccer playing household in which both his father and brother were national soccer referees and fourth officials registered with FIFA in the 1990s, says that soccer and the Coast Guard are more similar than people might realize.
"Football worldwide is a cultural experience. That is what the Coast Guard is made up of. Our demographic, our characteristics, how we're involved in different parts of the world to protect the environment and be a part of communities,” Wolf said. "It's just good to think about how when you're sleeping in your bed at night or you're comfortable driving down the road, or you're going to a movie theater or a restaurant, knowing that there's people out there that are protecting our ports, protecting our waterways, keeping people safe, especially during hurricanes, and just recognizing that."
Wolf is a devotee of both the Coast Guard and the world’s game. It is this understanding of the importance of the Coast Guard that led him on his path to becoming a recruiter, as he takes great pride in getting to share his story of service with the next generation. And while he knows that his time in the military has to end eventually, he says the skills he has developed over the years as a recruiter will help him in his next career, whatever that may be.
"I believe in the product that is the Coast Guard, and we have a lot of big impact on our local community, our national community and the world community as a whole, when it comes to saving lives and protecting the environment,” Wolf said. “I went into recruiting because I believed in that product. I really think human resources and talent acquisition is where my next career phase is going to be. I think it's really along the lines of bringing people into professions where I can believe in the company or believe in what that is."
Wolf, who has a six-year-old daughter and is expecting a second child in September with his wife, says that his career in the Coast Guard has exposed him to new experiences that he wouldn’t have otherwise been able to have.
"I've been stationed across the country. Wisconsin, Florida, Virginia, Hawaii, New York and then here in Houston," Wolf said. “I've been on ships, I've been to some foreign countries in Central and South America. I've gotten to work with a lot of foreign nationals and different coast guards across the world, which has been a great, great experience. I was in Haiti in 2011. When the earthquake happened in 2011, the Coast Guard was the first outside Haitian asset to provide support to that government and help its people, and that was pretty impactful on my career.”
Wolf knows that a career in the armed forces is not for everyone, but he is thankful to have made it his career.
“I had to go from maybe telling people how to stay safe on the water to transitioning to bringing people into the Coast Guard and telling my story, telling the story of what the Coast Guard is. It was a challenge, but chaos is my life and I love it.”