PHILADELPHIA — For 75 years, U-Haul has proudly supported military veterans and their families throughout North America. One of the many ways U-Haul does so is through a longstanding partnership with the Pat Tillman Foundation, which gives back to military veterans and their spouses through academic scholarships, professional development opportunities and a national network of support.
Each year, up to 60 of these veterans, known as Tillman Scholars, receive donated U-Haul equipment rentals for their moving needs. This is available whether it’s for a cross-town move to begin school; across the country for a new career; or anywhere in between.
Tillman Scholar and U.S. Army National Guard Captain James Rolfing and his wife, Sarah, recently utilized U-Haul equipment to move from Philadelphia to Montana after Sarah’s graduation from nursing school. Capt. Rolfing wrote U-Haul to express their heartfelt gratitude for this valuable service.
Dear U-Haul Team,
I just want to express my sincere gratitude to U-Haul for generously supporting the Pat Tillman Foundation and North America’s veterans. It is quite a blessing to receive this support … not to mention the pride and honor that come with being recognized for one’s military service … especially while my family and I are pursuing higher education and are under tight financial constraints. We’ve used U-Haul for numerous cross-country moves and have always been impressed by your customer service, high-quality equipment and the way you make a challenging process as smooth and easy as possible.
Thank YOU for supporting our service members and their families, and for making my move possible!
U.S. Army National Guard
The call to serve
Soon after their move to Montana, the call to serve came once again as Capt. Rolfing embarked on his third deployment to Afghanistan, where he served as an infantry officer. The couple also recently embarked on “life’s greatest adventure” together as they welcomed their first child, Luke, into the world.
“Military service is truly a ‘family affair,’ and Sarah has been there through it all,” Rolfing stated. “She helps me do and be better, and her advice has guided me through countless difficult situations that I couldn’t have resolved on my own. We’re incredibly excited to continue raising our family together!”
The call to serve, whether as a father, husband or member of the military, has come in many forms throughout Rolfing’s life. Throughout his military career, he spent five years on active duty as a platoon leader with the 82nd Airborne Division and the 2nd Ranger Battalion, and currently holds the rank of captain as an infantry officer in the U.S. Army National Guard. In addition, he has been a disaster response team leader at refugee camps in Croatia and Serbia, and at a public health project in Kenya.
While this record of service is quite exceptional, Rolfing stressed that it’s simply a reflection of how he seeks to live his life.
“Those five years of active duty helped me realize the importance and value of serving others,” Rolfing said. “Service is one of my core values, and continuously acting on it has brought more passion, meaning and purpose to my life.”
Going forward, Rolfing plans to continue his education at the University of Pennsylvania, where he has only one year left before he graduates from medical school. Upon graduating, he intends to practice medicine wherever he is needed most.
“At large academic medical centers and well-funded community hospitals, there are usually enough medical care providers to go around,” Rolfing said. “However, in extremely rural areas, as well as impoverished regions and war zones around the world, if I don’t go, someone’s need for medical care may be left unfilled.
“Being able to ‘do what needs to be done’ in uncomfortable, stressful or remote environments is a unique service that I can offer, and I’m glad to do it! I want to help improve others’ lives, and studying medicine will provide me with the necessary skills and abilities to accomplish that goal.”
Rolfing knows that the call to serve rarely, if ever, comes at “convenient” times. While he’s excited to begin his career as a doctor and raise a family, he’s grateful for the chance he presently has to make a difference in the lives of his fellow service members.
“In the military, you learn that what you’ve done in the past is ultimately less important than what you’re doing right now,” Rolfing added. “If you’re not making any meaningful contributions today or taking care of those people who’ve been entrusted to you, then the great things you accomplished yesterday matter very little.
“There are plenty of good commanders in the world, but true leaders are the ones who serve. As you consistently look to help others, you’re able to strengthen your interpersonal relationships and lead more effectively. This, in turn, will help you become better, happier and more fulfilled.”