Timothy Ellison of Iron Mountain, MI currently works at the Oscar G Johnson VA Medical Center in Iron Mountain where he is a Veteran Experience Specialist and enjoys serving veterans and the community. While at the VA, Ellison is responsible for analyzing patient satisfaction data and ensuring the voice of the Veteran is heard. He first started at the VA in the kitchen serving food to long term patients and meeting veterans that served in every war. He was in awe and grateful to be getting paid to meet American heroes. “It is easy to be motivated at work when you see the price of freedom every day and get to give back to those who have given so much,” he said.
From the first time walking through the doors as a patient of the VA, Ellison could see the dedication of the leadership and all the employees. Jim Rice, the Medical Center Director, came in on a weekend and had a team of people assisting Ellison’s unit during their transition from combat to civilian life. It spoke volumes to Ellison. A few months later, Rice returned to Ellison’s unit to follow-up on their experience at the VA hospital. Ellison was impressed by how much Rice believed in the mission of the VA.
In 2004, Ellison began studying law enforcement at Bay College. Being his first college experience, Bay College made it easy to transition into higher education. During his first semester while taking a sociology course at Bay College he was inspired by instructor Terri Doepker to change his major and career path to Sociology. Doepker helped Ellison explore different areas of study and really motivated him to make a difference in people’s lives. Doepker was not the only instructor to inspire Ellison, who also mentioned English instructor Joanie Richtig who set the bar high. “This set me up for success during the rest of my college experience,” Ellison stated. Both instructors were very impactful on his life and helped steer him in the direction that led him to where he is today. While attending Bay College, Ellison was surprised how helpful everyone was and their wiliness to make sure every student succeeds.
Upon leaving Bay College, Ellison moved on to Ashford University in Clinton, Iowa, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in sociology in 2012. Ellison decided to return to the Upper Peninsula due to his love of the outdoors. He was happy to introduce his daughters to hunting and fishing while raising them in a small-town atmosphere. Although he isn’t a fan of the snow, he enjoys the small town values Dickinson County has. One piece of advice Ellison offered for students in high school was, “to start at Bay to minimize the need for loans, while getting a quality education close to home.”