Shawn McWilliams

If you are going to take the opportunity to serve your country understand which branch of the service suits you best

Shawn McWilliams


Veteran |  6 Years in the U.S. MArine Corps

Nominated By Tia Trent

“We can celebrate this nominee for being a veteran. He served for eight years, and now that he is out, he is serving his community in more ways than one. The first example would be his willingness to come out and be a Marshall for the March for Black Women Denver, 2020. He marched with Black women to keep them safe during the event, and when the event was over, he continued to ensure the safety of Black women by walking them to their cars. In addition, he has opened a business, 1770 Armory and Gun Club, to ensure that Black folks learn about their 2nd Amendment right, gun safety, CCW courses, and so much more. He is community-oriented, and you can see him on any given day supporting Black businesses and Black communities. Shawn is also very selfless. He gives so much of his time to his community and to better those around him.”

Interview Questions

What was the biggest reason that led you to join the military?

 My Brother was my biggest reason. He was in The USMC, and I visited him in Hawaii and got a complete understanding of what the Marine Corps lifestyle was like. Once I had the opportunity to live on base and live with other Marines, I saw this is something that I could do. I also understood it would be a great opportunity to get out of Chicago. I did not want to become part of the youth violence that was going on in Chicago at the time.

What was the biggest lesson you learned in the military?

 One of the biggest lessons I learned during my time in the military that mind over matter is a very powerful tool. If you set your mind to something, you can pretty much achieve it. You will not always have the success you’re looking for sometimes, but if you focus hard and put your mind to it, you can achieve success. It gave me the ability to have thicker skin, not take so much personally, and understand that the world is a system, and they were all working in a system.

Has the military made you a better person?

While in the military, it will either enhance who you are or decrease who you are. It’s not an easy job or an easy process. There are many days you’re on your own and a lot of days you have to defend yourself. If anything, it helps you focus on the person that you truly are. I have seen it both ways. I have seen it be great for people, and I’ve seen it not be great for people.

What area of your life has the military helped you grow the most in?

 The area that the military has probably help me grow the most is discipline scheduling organizing. It also helps me understand that everything can’t be fixed.

What is your perspective of patriotism?

Patriotism is a word that people can build their definition off of. Patriotism is also something that’s not synonymous with the United States of America. Patriotism could be anything that somebody loves. Something that somebody wants to do in patriotism can be a lot of different things. I also believe that’s a word that’s dividing the country very deeply.

What was your experience transitioning from active duty to civilian life?

 My experience during my transition from active duty to civilian life was pretty good. I had a pretty good team around me. I understood what needed to happen to be successful when I got out of the military. I also researched jobs and got a job one year before I was getting out of the United States Marine Corps. I also made sure that my last duty station was in the state that I wanted to be in so when I look for a job opportunity, I could research it.

What do you do, post active duty?

 As for what I do post active duty, I am a computer engineer and have been a computer engineer my entire career. I am a Mentor and Volunteer as I am a part of a local Nonprofit group called “Denver Gents” I am currently co-owner of several businesses in the Denver area that comes from my military background and military success. One of the businesses I co-owns is called 1770 armory and gun club One of the other businesses I also co-owns is called GunTailors, where we specialize in helping new gun owners and current gun owners get the right stuff they need for gun training. I also co-own a clothing line with one of my best friends. That line is called This line was created to honor military veterans who have fought for this country that you might not know about. We wanted to give our customers some information about the country they live in and some of the folks who have made this country what it is today.

What advice would you give to others transitioning into civilian life?

If you know you’re going to leave the military, I always say start at least two years in advance to scope out what it is that you want to do. Also, try to figure out to get your final duty station in the area or the state you wish to live in. Also, make sure you use your G.I. Bill, and you have some degree or certification, and start looking for opportunities a year before you get out.

What are things that people should consider before they decide to serve their country?

If you are going to take the opportunity to serve your country understand which branch of the service suits you best, also understand that you can pick duty station jobs and also have the possibility of getting greater rank before even going into the military so understanding all of your options is the best thing that you can do for yourself before going into the service.

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