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Serving With Pride

November 11, 2018

Several members of our Citi Habitats family have served in the armed forces, and many more have close family members who have done so.  In honor of Veterans Day, we asked a few of them what lessons they learned during their military experience – or from a service member in their life.


“The military teaches you many skills – including resilience, leadership, management, motivation, endurance, and dedication.  One of the most important lessons I learned was that adaptability to change is essential.  In addition to continually changing your physical surroundings, the military brings a flow of diverse people in and out of your life.  Some are with you for several months, others for several weeks.  Such situations teach you to be perceptive of others, and help you when building strong and effective teams in a work environment. 

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Richard Nymark in the 82nd Airborne Division of the Army.

In addition, my time in the service taught me not to focus on the problem, but on the opportunities that the problem provides. Another point the military solidified is dedication to the organization and its mission.  All I’ve learned has been very valuable to me – both while I was a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division and now in my personal and professional life.”

          –    Richard Nymark, Agent at Citi Habitats Upper East Side


“My grandfather and my dad both served in the military.  In fact, my grandpa was injured in the attack on Pearl Harbor during World War II.  I’m proud to say my dad is Brigadier General Wallace F. Pickard Jr.  He served in the Air Force as the commander of the 108th Air Refueling Wing.  There he flew the Boeing KC-135, which is a specialized jet that transfers fuel to other planes during flight.  It’s a dangerous job and as I kid I always thought my dad was really important.  He got promoted a few times, and these were always big events – I knew he was special.  He worked at bases all over the country – in California, Arizona, and North Dakota – but by the time I was born, he was stationed at McGuire Air Force base in Southern New Jersey – a place very different from New York City. 

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Kim’s father, Brigadier General Wallace F. Pickard Jr.

My dad was always working – and during Operation Desert Storm, he was away for weeks at a time – even over Christmas.  In spite of this, my dad was very hands-on and made his time with us count.  He always kept us from all the serious stuff.  Despite his military background, he was never a disciplinarian. To this day, he likes to have a good time – and has a great sense of humor.  My dad retired in 2001 and now loves to travel.  He and my mom love vacationing on Fire Island and Fenwick Island, Delaware – and I love that I can see him now more than ever. 

I got my work ethic from my dad.  He was up at 5AM every day to work out – and was out of the house by 6.  He also taught me to have a passion for your career… and that hard work pays off.  Life is short – and whatever you do, you should enjoy it.”

          –   Kimberly Pickard, Rental Manager, Citi Habitats Upper East Side


“Both my father and brother-in-law were veterans.  My father was in World War II and my brother-in-law Ken served in Vietnam.  While my father suffered a minor injury during combat, my brother-in-law was severely injured.  Through determination, a positive attitude and hard work, he exceeded all expectations for recovery – but lived with the consequences all of his adult life.  He went on to be one of the very first staff members of the Vietnam Veterans of America, where he worked directly with veterans on membership-related issues.  He also managed a school education initiative program that led to the development of a curriculum to teach the Vietnam war to high school students.   

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Seymour Schnaier (Louise’s father) posing with his brother Gerald who also served in WWII.

He was an amazing son, brother, and father.  I learned from Ken that no matter how hard times can be, you need to cherish all that life has to offer.  He taught me that the price of war doesn’t end when soldiers come home – the physical and emotional struggles are lifelong.  He taught me that the human spirit can help you to overcome any obstacle.  And, he taught me that Bruce Springsteen ROCKS!

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Seymour Schnaier in basic training or somewhere in Florida during WWII. He was stationed in Florida guarding German prisoners during the war.

My sister met Ken when she was in grad school and conducting one of the very first studies on how women vets were affected by war and PTSD.  Her work along with that of others changed how women were treated in the military.  Ken also gave me my niece and nephew, who were both the apple of his eye – and who I adore with all my heart.”

          –    Louise Schnaier, Director of Agent Recruiting


“After serving here and abroad, my experience in the Army taught me that people can do anything.  We can work together, we can push each other to be greater, and we can form a unified front – and it doesn’t take much to do this.  Being a leader is about learning from your peers and the people who you are looking to help – no matter rank or the mission.”

Young man wearing military uniform | LivingIn

Photograph of Darnell Thornton taken during his time in the military.

          –    Darnell Thornton, Agent at Citi Habitats Williamsburg


“I only wish I could be as dedicated to serving our country as my nephew is.  From the time he was in high school, my nephew Collen wanted to join the Army.  We did our best to encourage him to follow his dreams (all while secretly hoping the military life would not be his first choice – because selfishly he could get hurt).  On the day of his 18th birthday, his mother drove him down to sign up.  Three months later, he went to boot camp. 

Collen excelled in the Army, graduating near the top of his class and surprising the entire family.  Those surprises haven’t stopped coming.  He worked as a medic and served in South Korea.  When he came home, he was recruited for the Special Forces and endured incredible hardships in training.  Then he met his wife – and while she was waiting to give birth to their beautiful daughter, he was shipped on a mission to Africa.  Military service can be extremely tough – both physically… and mentally.

Young man dress in military uniform | LivingIn

Corlie’s nephew, Collen Larson.

Why do I describe this soldier’s story?  Because I admire him.  I changed his diapers as a child – and now look up to him with the utmost respect and admiration.  Collen proved that his dream was worth his time…  and our country is worth the effort.”

          –    Corlie Ohl, Agent at Citi Habitats Park Avenue South

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