Hispanic Internal Revenue Employees, Inc.

Promoting Career Advancement Through Training and Education

Veteran's Day 2021

In honor of the sacrifices made by our Veteran Military and their families, we want to proudly showcase some of our very own members of HIRE with their stories of what inspired them to join the military and to share some anecdotes on their experiences as a result of their military service. Their heartwarming stories will inspire you. We know there are more veterans who are HIRE members who we did not showcase, but we also want to acknowledge and thank you for your service.  Please take some time to thank someone you know who has served in our military forces, who are Veterans or who are currently serving and who sacrifice so much, along with their families, for the protection of our freedoms, our constitution and for all who call America home.  We salute you and thank you for your service!

We asked the following Veterans two questions and below are their thoughtful responses:  
  1. What inspired to serve our country?
  2. Who/what influenced your decision to enlist?
Sara Gumm, Revenue Officer in SB/SE Collection Operations
Sara Gumm, is a Revenue Officer in SB/SE Collection Operations and is a member of the Oregon HIRE Chapter.  She shared with us:

What inspired you to serve our country?
I joined the Army as a paralegal to build a career in a field I felt very strongly about. I wanted to work in the legal field because I had a deep sense of justice. At the same time, I was a very empathetic person. During my four years in the Army, I worked for JAG (Judge Advocate General) and learned how to incorporate the two.  

Who/What influenced your decision to enlist?
I enlisted for what I believe were selfish reasons. I was poor, living in a small town, with little to no job opportunities. I had no money for school and felt the only way to get an education without being in debt for the rest of my life was to join the military. I originally wanted to go into the Air Force, but the Army found me first.
Eric Olson, Revenue Officer with SB/SE Collection Operations
Eric Olson, is a Revenue Officer with SB/SE Collection Operations and is a member of the Oregon HIRE Chapter.  Eric shared the following with us:

Really and honestly, I was never inspired to serve my country in the US Navy. It was during “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” after all and I would have to go into the closet. However, I choose to serve because I knew that the opportunities and skills that I would accumulate would serve me well later in life.

The most memorable moment was being able to see a moon at its perigee (Super Moon) over the Pacific Ocean on a clear night when you can see the stars and the arms of the Milky Way.

I had many members of my family serve in the US Military with a total of 3 generations, counting my service, on my Father’s side and 12 generations of military/public service on my Mother’s side. You could say it’s in my blood.

To this day I do not regret enlisting or the 8- years I spent protecting our freedoms.

Janice Foulk, Senior National Account Manager with Wage & Investment Customer Account Services Submission Processing.
Janice Foulk, is Senior National Account Manager with Wage & Investment Customer Account Services Submission Processing. She is a member of the Austin HIRE Chapter and is also our very own Chief Information Officer. Janice shared the following:

My father was Air Force, and I grew up on military bases around the world, so military was normal for me. I decided to join the Kansas Army National Guard while I was living in Kansas going to K-State. I started out enlisted (as a 27E, which is someone who fixes the electronic guidance systems for small missiles) but after I moved to Texas and transferred to the Texas Army National Guard my Commander suggested I apply for Officer Candidate School. I applied, successfully completed the training, and became a 2nd Lieutenant. I went on to Command a Forward Support Unit that was housed in San Antonio, Texas and then became an S1 for the Battalion Commander. 
believe that my time in uniform had a positive effect on my interactions at the IRS and throughout my life.

She shared a picture of her son pinning on her LT bars with her father in the background.
Dave G. Fernandez, is a Revenue Officer with SB/SE Collection Operations
Dave G. Fernandez, is a Revenue Officer with SB/SE Collection Operations and is a member of the Oregon HIRE Chapter.  He shared the following:

As a poor Mexican boy growing up in a small town called Cuero, which is eighty miles southeast of San Antonio, TX, I had little choices and even lesser opportunities. My father was from Mexico and dropped out of school in the third grade to work fields. It was all he ever knew. I was the youngest of a large family of ten siblings, but I never really knew them. There is a fifteen-year gap between me and my oldest sister, so, by the time I was nine years old, most of my siblings were out of the house, and on their own. That did not deter me from my lifetime dream, which was to be a football player in the National Football League. However, by the time I was graduating high school, I was beginning to realize that my dream of a professional football player was not realistic for me. This was mainly for two reasons, my dad wouldn’t let me play sports in high school, and there was no way I could go to college.

In high school, I began working at the local grocery store, which two of my brothers had done before me. That was all I knew. No one ever told me I could go to college, because no one in my family ever went to college. After high school graduation, I continued working at the local grocery store for an additional four years, and everyone assumed I would work there for the next twenty plus years. But I knew this local life was not for me. I found a way out of Cuero after talking to the local military recruiter in the next largest city of Victoria TX. Joining the military was a horrifying option for me, and I did not have the approval of my dad, but I was determined and driven to make a better life for myself.

The military gave me options I otherwise didn’t have. I did eventually join the Marines, because I knew they were the toughest and of course, they had the sharpest looking uniform. I had every intention of serving for twenty plus years, but after six years my body was not capable physically and I separated with “Honorable Service” and service-connected disability. I served from November 1988 through November 1994 and did two tours in Desert Shield/Desert Storm in 1990 and 1991. I didn’t realize at the time, after my discharge, that the military would continue to provide me opportunities even through today.
I started college eight plus years after my discharge in February 2003 to complete an AA degree in general studies. After a year and a half at Skagit Valley College in Mount Vernon WA, my VA administer informed me I qualified for a four-year degree under the Vocational Rehabilitation Program due to my service-connected disability. So, I completed my “AA” degree in May 2005 and then applied and got accepted to Western Washington University in Bellingham WA in Jun 2005. I graduated in June 2007 at the age of forty-two, where I received my Bachelor of Art Degree with a Major in Finance and Minor in Communications.

Today I continue to receive opportunities beyond my imagination as a civil servant working for the United States Treasury. Combined service is over twenty years and while the decision to join the military initially, was not so inspiring, today, it inspires me to continue to serve and be grateful from my humble beginnings.
Vanel Buens - Internal Revenue Agent - SB/SE

On this Veterans Day, November 11, 2021, I am thankful to my son, Schweitzer (SEAN) Beuns, for his service in the United States Marine Corps (USMC) and in the United Stated Air Force. He has proudly demonstrated a wide array of excellent skills in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Thanks to all our veterans who have so faithfully served and sacrificed for our nation. 


As DAD, I’m grateful for the honor to work alongside my son.  Sean earned a Master in Political Science from Rutgers University in New Jersey. Indeed, he brings valuable leadership skills, competencies, world-class experiences and perspectives to the Federal Government.  Our veterans deserve our heartfelt gratitude for their service and sacrifice to keep our country safe.


Thanks to all who have served and continue to serve. And to the families of those serving, I am grateful for their sacrifices.

With thanks and appreciation for your service,
Sergio Guzman and Pat DiDonato
National President & Vice President HIRE
And all HIRE Members