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Military Spouse Inspires Gratitude for Those Who Serve

By Sandy Barry

Jamie Rufolo is a woman on the move.

Her jobs have taken her to 16 countries and 26 states. At AT&T, she has held 10 positions in 10 cities from coast to coast over 20 years. Some moves have been for her own career growth. Most have been to follow her husband, U.S. Army Major Dennis Rufolo, to new military posts.

“Military spouses build relationships really fast. It’s survival technique,” Jamie said. “You don’t waste any time jumping in and getting the lay of the land.”

All those connections helped prepare Jamie for her most personally and professionally fulfilling role. She now trains and supports our FirstNet consultant teams across 50 states and 6 territories who deliver lifesaving tools to America’s first responders. She also supports our sponsorship of Carry the Load, a Memorial Day focused non-profit serving first responders, military personnel and their families.

“Before marrying my husband, I was like a lot of Americans who don’t have a loved one who's a first responder or who serves in the military,” Jamie said. “I didn’t realize the tremendous sacrifice it takes, the deployments, being away from family and friends, the constant change, the ever-present concern for a loved one’s safety. I didn’t understand the resiliency needed to hold up close friends through the loss of a spouse who has given his or her life in service. Carry the Load shares that message. It puts the honor back into Memorial Day. It provides a way to connect with others who understand.”

Throughout “Memorial May,” Carry the Load volunteers lead three relay walks, covering 11,500 miles over 32 days from the East, Midwest and West Coasts.

Jamie enlists participation from our AT&T Veterans ERG, FirstNet teams, Retail stores, and other employees to join over 40,000 volunteers across the nation. They “carry the load” for the military and first responders who have served, and continue to serve, our country.

Contagious Passion and Compassion

“Jamie has tremendous passion that she infuses into everyone around her,” said Chris Sambar, senior vice president-AT&T FirstNet. Chris sought out Jamie when he first built his year-old organization. “I can't think of anyone better to lead Carry the Load. She's doing a phenomenal job and I'm really excited to have her on the team.”

“The best part is seeing the impact that Carry the Load is having on our FirstNet team and our retail store employees,” Jamie said. “They’ve handed out refreshments to the walkers at over 60 fire and law enforcement stations along the routes. Many are jumping in and walking themselves. They’ve been moved by being a part of something so meaningful.”

“People want to do something to honor our military and first responders, but they often don’t know what to do,” Jamie said. “Carry the Load is a way to get physically involved, to connect to the sacrifices others have made. And, with FirstNet, now we can tell first responders about something that can help them in return.

“It's a great feeling to know we're doing something that helps save lives.”

Watch the videos below to hear volunteers across the company tell why they’re supporting Carry the Load.

Jamie is one in a community of many military spouses and veterans who chose us for their post-military careers. Learn more about how we support veterans transitioning to civilian life.

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