MILITARY Service & Sacrifice: From soldier to civilian auctioneer

“You gain a lot of years in that ‘year’ of combat,” said retired Army major Jason Deel who spent almost six years overseas as a veteran of five combat deployments. After more than twenty years in military service he is launching his new career in the civilian world as an auctioneer.

After two decades of hauling a machine gun to work, Jason Deel traded his weapon for a microphone in his transition to civilian life.

“It’s about helping people. I really feel driven to help people,” said the retired Army major turned auctioneer.

The veteran of five combat tours between Iraq and Afghanistan recalled all his overseas deployments were different but one common thread included helping people work through desperate situations.

“It’s the same here. Everyday someone calls saying, ‘grandma passed away,’ or ‘mom passed away. I’ve got to sell the house and everything in it, can you help me with this problem,’” described Mr. Deel, who has spent the last couple years running a small auction house in Clinton, Tennessee with the help of his wife who is also an Army veteran.

“(We) work in our war room, draft out the plan. Backwards plan it, it’s just like a military operation,” said Mr. Deel.

In our on-camera conversation Jason Deel goes on to describe the military skills that helped him in his business and a mentor who has also helped guide his new career.

He also took time to answer the following 10 questions explaining how his military service influenced his life.

1. What one person influenced you most in life?

With out question my father Jimmy Deel influenced me most in my life. My father was a hardworking, honest, loving, humble man. He worked hard his entire life, he spent most of his adult life working in the coal mines in Southwest Virginia. His time in the Army during the Vietnam area, had a large impact on my life decision to join the Army. My father always told my brother and I we would not be coal miners, he wanted us to go to college, and make a good living for our families. One other note my father always said to my brother and I, “Boys, I’m not going to tell you not to do drugs, but I will tell you that there is something very powerful about them, people who do drugs cannot quit, so I do not want to see either of you get addicted to them.”I have followed that rule my entire life.

2. Do you feel honored and respected for serving your country?

Living in East Tennessee there is not a moment that I have not felted honored and respected. We live in a truly awesome community where people love and respect veterans, and I’m proud to be here.

3. How can people thank you for your service?

It is simple, continue to show respect for our veterans, talk to young men and women about serving in the armed forces, and what an awesome opportunity they have by serving in the military.

4. How do you honor your fellow men and women?

Natalie and I take great pride in volunteering our ability as an auction company to serve any veteran organization for charity events. I continue to get phone calls on a regular occasion asking for career advice or life advice. I love helping guide young soldiers through their career.

5. How do you think this generation of service men & women is different or similar to yours?

Young men & women are much like my generation, there is a misconception many times in our world that young men & women are lazy. I would argue that you are not looking in the right place if this is your view on young men & women. We have high school seniors enlisting every day across this country, who stand ready to defend this nation.

6. What influence did your military service have on the rest of your life?

Spending my entire adult life in the Army has shaped my life as I know it. The way I plan and run my business is essentially like a military operation. A perfect example is we backwards plan every single auction event, just like we did in the Army.

‘Public service’ to America can be a noble occupation, after you’ve done your fair share of fighting for her.

7. Does your family have a history of military?

My father was drafted in the Army in 1968 and served 4 years. My uncle served in the Navy for 4 years, and my grandfather was drafted but did not go to WWII.

8. Would you encourage your son, daughter or other younger generations in your family to join the service?

Absolutely. As a matter of fact, my 5-year-old has told me many times he wants to be an auctioneer when he grows up. My response is always after you go meet your Uncle Sam.

9. After seeing it and living it, how has your opinion of war changed?

Of course, growing up I thought how cool it would be to go to war, after seeing it…. It was not so cool. Combat changes everything about you; the things you thought were important in life, are not, your perspective of life changes.

10. How did your military experience shape your religious faith?

To start I was baptized in the Tigris river in 2004. It was a great experience being in the Tigris river with my Army family and publicly showing my faith. You quickly realize that god has a plan for you, when your friends fall right beside you in combat.


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