Bill Caudle, a former raw materials coordinator at a plastics compounder, recently made a huge career change -- at age 39, he joined the US Army. The reason for the decision is the interesting part of the story. Caudle was laid off from his job at PolyOne Corp.'s Sussex, Wis., plant, and he couldn't find a job with health insurance benefits. Insurance was essential because his wife, Michelle, has ovarian cancer. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel posted a heart-tugging feature story yesterday about the Caudle family's story. "The Army would solve their health coverage problem," the story says. "In years past he would have been too old, but in 2005 the age limit for enlistment was increased from 35 to 40, and a year later it was raised again to 42. The tradeoff would be his absence from home," including his wife and three children. So on May 13, his 39th birthday, Bill signed up for a 4-year hitch in the Army.
In the end, although he risked leaving Michelle to fight cancer on her own, Bill chose the Army. He signed on for a job as a signal support systems specialist, a soldier who works with communications equipment. "Seventy percent of the reason is for the insurance," said Bill's mother, Marguerite Hemiller. "He told me, 'I've always wanted to do something for my country and I have to help Michelle.'"That couldn't have been an easy choice, especially for a family man with a wife battling through chemotherapy. Best of luck to Bill and Michelle.