A family with a decorated military background and a simple error with his birthdate planted some early seeds that led Josh Larabee down his career path.

He now reflects often on how his military experiences helped shape him into the husband, father and leader that he is today.

As a young child what first drew the Muskegon native to the military: his love for hearing his father and uncle tell stories about their military service and how close they were to people they served with.

“It was just very cool to hear about their different experiences with people from all different backgrounds,” said Larabee, a lineworker in charge for Norton Shores. “It made me proud to be from a military family from when I can first remember.

Also, it didn’t hurt that Larabee, who is also union president for Utility Workers Union of America Local 103, started receiving recruiting material from the Army at an early age of about six.

“The Army thought my birthday was 1972, not 1982,” said Larabee with a laugh. “So, I am getting all these Army posters and other promotional materials. I just ate it up.”

Thoughts of joining the military left him as he became a teenager and shifted his focus to other things, but the seed was planted.

After doing some soul searching during his senior year in high school, Larabee decided to join the Navy’s prestigious nuclear power program.

“It was a great experience,” he said. “It was extremely difficult work, and I am grateful the instructors, who first showed me how a tight knit group worked together so well.”

After his stint in the Navy, Larabee joined the Army National Guard for a year. Then in 2009, he joined Consumers Energy as an operator at J.H. Campbell Generating Complex. He’s been a lineworker since 2012.

Now a marriage and four children later, Larabee is sharing his experiences from the military and helping others reach their maximum potential.

He is extremely proud to be a veteran who works at Consumers Energy. And he is not alone in that, one out of 10 people who work here are military veterans.

We take our role seriously as a Michigan Veteran’s Affairs Agency Gold Level employer, which is the highest level.

We also were named Best Employer for Military Veterans by the Best of Vets and received the Secretary of Defense Freedom Award, the highest recognition given by the U.S. Government to employers for their support of their employees who serve in the Guard and Reserve.

“The military definitely helped me mature by growing up a little faster and understanding what is important in life,” said Larabee, who keeps in touch with those he served with and remembers those lost along the way, especially during the military holidays.

Larabee said it means a lot to him when people thank him for his service. He does the same for veterans who have served before and after him.

“It isn’t easy adjusting to civilian life,” he said. “But I would go back and do it all over again in a heartbeat. I am right where I am supposed to be now because of the military.”

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Veteran Employees Reflect on Service