Honoring Our Veterans, Like Yuma
Yuma Haidara is a Navy Veteran. She did a tour in Iraq, a tour in Afghanistan, and is now a Walmart truck driver. As part of our Veterans Welcome Home Commitment, we’ve hired more than 243,000 veterans and our goal is to hire 250,000 by 2020.
 
We had a chance to sit down with Yuma to learn more about her time serving our country, her transition to Walmart almost one year ago, and how she recently completed a goal of running two marathons in two weeks! Check it out:
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Tell us about your time serving in the Navy

 

I spent 7 years with the U.S. Navy Seabees. The Seabees are a separate group of the Navy. They provide responsive military construction support to Navy, Marine Corps and other forces in military operations, construct base facilities and conduct defensive operations. I was a builder which makes up the largest segment of the Naval Construction Force. I worked as a carpenter, plasterer, roofer, concrete finisher, mason, painter, bricklayer, and cabinet maker. I did one tour to Iraq in 2008 and a tour in Afghanistan in 2009.

 

 

What inspired you to join the Navy?

 

I was part of a NJROTC in high school and I loved the discipline, pride, and structure. From freshman year, I knew I'd be a part of the armed forces. I initially wanted to be a Marine, but my older brother who is a Marine was not about to let his little sister join. So, I went with the next best thing!

How did you become part of our #WalmartFamily?

 

My Uncle Amadou Traore has been driving for Walmart for about 15 years. Once he knew I was starting my trucking career he advised me to be safe, have a clean driving record, and apply to Walmart in 3 years. I was doubtful I'd get hired since you hear how tough it is to get on with Walmart. 5 years later I just took a chance, applied, and got hired within a month!

 

 

Tell us about your experience with the company so far

 

I absolutely love it! I still am just so grateful to be a part of the Walmart team. I am always treated with respect, which coming into a male-dominated industry isn't always the case. The culture at Walmart is unlike any other company I've ever been a part of.

"When you come to Walmart, you will not be alone. You will feel included and heard. Most of all, you'll feel respected."

— Yuma Haidara, Walmart truck driver and Navy Veteran

What does it mean to you to work for a company that supports veterans, as well as their spouses and families?

 

It means everything!! You're helping to improve the lives of veterans! And it's nice to be in a work place with other veterans, People you can relate to on a much different level!

 

 

What would you want other associates to know about your experience with Walmart as a veteran?

 

I want them to know that when you come to Walmart you will not be alone. You will feel included and heard. Most of all you'll feel respected.

Why did you recently set a goal to run a marathon?

 

Well, I started running to avoid gaining a ton of weight while trucking. It started off with 5Ks, just to keep me motivated on the road to keep running. But I wanted to keep pushing myself mentally and physically. I never dreamed I'd ever run a marathon as a truck driver! With the hours we work it feels almost impossible to get in all the training I needed. So, I randomly put myself into the Chicago Marathon lottery and told myself if I got in, I'd do whatever it takes to make it to the finish line. Once I got the acceptance email the rest was history!

 

 

You then ran two marathons in two weeks! What was that like?

 

Tough!! My first marathon went great! But afterward, I jumped back into the truck after only giving myself one day to recoup. That was my first mistake. It made my recovery time take so much longer than normal. There's not enough stretching in the world to overcome sitting for 10 plus hours. So going into my 2nd marathon, I was very stiff which made for a painful but amazing experience!

You ran one of those marathons as a member of Ainsley’s Angels of America. Tell us about that organization and why you’re involved

 

Ainsley's Angels of America aims to build awareness about America's special needs community through inclusion in all aspects of life. They help members of the special needs community achieve things that they otherwise would not be physically able to accomplish. They believe everyone deserves to be included. It was started by a Marine Corps Major, Kim Rossiter, in honor of his daughter Ainsley who was diagnosed with Infantile Neuroaxonal Dystrophy (INAD) just before turning four years of age. Her terminal illness would eventually take her to heaven in 2016. I was drawn to this organization for multiple reasons, but my main one was the love that everyone shares. Knowing you're a part of helping someone's dreams come true in participating in events such as the Marine Corps Marathon. Also, just being able to witness how much joy comes from the Angel riders, it is absolutely contagious!

To learn more about how Walmart is investing in and supporting our veterans, click here.

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