My name is Wayne Harrod and this is my story on how I was helped by The Poppy Factory.
I was in the Army, Infantry, 1 Royal Anglian. During December 2001 I was a Platoon Sergeant on a Battle exercise when I was injured which later resulted in amputation of my left leg below knee. I recovered through rehabilitation and served for another 7 years and got promoted to Colour Sergeant. I left the services after 24 years into civilian street thinking all was good and after the resettlement I thought getting a full time job would be easy. I was wrong.
Now there was a different battle, after 200 CVs sent out and many job applications with no reply, I was sinking fast, and lost direction on where I was going. Now my head was filled with grey days of not knowing what to do.
A good friend of mine kept in touch and I told him I was good when it was the complete opposite. He had mentioned The Poppy Factory on a number of occasions and I brushed it aside.
September 2011 I crumbled, I was at my lowest ebb, thinking of family I couldn’t support, friends I wasn’t telling the truth on how I felt. Not a clue where I was going in life.
The hardest part of this was asking for help, as in the Army you combated your problems and came up with solutions. My friend called and I asked him for the number of The Poppy Factory.
First call and time I have ever asked for help after 24 years in the Army.
I was listened to then helped, I was given a consultant, help with my CV and different outlook on what you are worth and what you can give to a future employer.
After three months an opportunity came up on working within the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) as a gardener, I didn’t have any Knowledge or qualifications but with the help from The Poppy Factory I was then employed for a year in 2012 with the CWGC. At the end of 2012 I was taken on full time. I went back to college and after 2 years I qualified with a level 2 diploma Horticulture.
From the help from The Poppy Factory I have been employed as a full time gardener for the CWGC six Years.
What this has also done is make family life a lot more financially secure, with that the stress has gone with the grey days and taken on different adventures.
I have taken on bit of a passion for cycling over the last three years and now taking part in my second Invictus games this year in Sydney, Australia.
Thank you Poppy Factory for all your help and support.