WINNEBAGO, Nebraska (KCAU) — Gordon Rave said he’s keeping busy these days. Just months ago, he was named Winnebago’s tribal services officer, acting as an intermediary for the 80 some veterans who live in the area, so they can have access to the programs and opportunities the VA can provide them.

The position is something Rave said he’s always wanted to do.

“Getting to this job and getting to this point where I can help more people with the benefits that the veterans need. There’s a lot of programs that can help,” said Rave.

Before serving his community’s veterans, Rave entered basic infantry training at Fort Benning, Georgia as a junior in high school where he learned specialized skills such as going to jump school. After that, he joined several units of both the Nebraska and Iowa National Guard. That’s when his platoon had the opportunity to go against major active units like Fort Hood and others in war simulation games at the National Training Center in Nevada, where Rave said the Iowa Guard defeated all of them.

“It showed that just cause you’re in the Guards, that you know how to become a soldier. You can fight just as good as an active-duty unit. It gave the guard unit more pride seeing that we can go against anybody if we want to,” said Rave.

After more than a decade in the Guards, Rave said he spent 23 years as a Bureau of Indian Affairs police officer, where he’d visit reservations across several states and interact with each community.

He said the time he enjoyed most was educating young people and training them not to be intimidated by cops, but rather see them as someone who can lend a helping hand.

“That’s why I’d always go to the schools so the little kids weren’t scared of seeing a cop and we’d go, oh maybe throw a football around for a little bit with them and sit in the classroom and watch them work and stuff and answer questions,” said Rave.