Annie Tooley

James Woodard

Dispatch/content creator

In 2009, Michael Scusa died in combat. But his death let his brother @3.61media meet his wife and grow his career. Here’s their story, as James tells it.

“Growing up, I never thought of working a blue-collar job.⁣

After high school, I interviewed at @lyons_hohl as a pipe crew laborer. I was intimidated since I had never done ANY work outside.⁣ But I needed a job, so I took it, and realized pretty quickly that what we did was kinda cool.

Over time, I learned about reading plans and why we did things. This paid off when I was chosen to be a pipe foreman.⁣

I ran my crew for years. I respected them and never took them for granted. We did the work and had fun, which they appreciated.⁣

Then came October 3, 2009. ⁣

My younger brother, Michael, was in the Army. He did one tour in Iraq in 2008, so when he deployed again, we knew he would be in harm's way. He went to COP Keating, Afghanistan, which he warned us was a bad place.⁣

Michael and seven of his Army brothers died in combat during an intense battle between around 50 U.S. troops and over 300 enemy insurgents.⁣

On that Saturday night, an Army Officer and Army Chaplain knocked on our door.⁣

Nothing can prepare you for that.⁣

This tragedy connected me to my wife, who was my brother’s friend. After he died, we began talking. That turned into an 11-year marriage and three beautiful daughters.⁣

When my wife and I became serious, we started discussing if I would move to New Jersey or if she would come to Pennsylvania.⁣

I told the bosses at Lyons & Hohl I may leave. Right away, they asked if moving into the office would make my decision easier.⁣

I started estimating and purchasing. Then, I became a dispatcher, which gave me more daily contact with the field. Now, I help with equipment maintenance tracking, website development, and delivery coordination. ⁣

I’m also the "social media guy." I enjoy showing off the guys in the field, & they appreciate the photos I take. ⁣

My Dirt World story is far from over. We’ve signed on to BuildWitt Training, so I have work to do with that and making our own content to add to it. Shoutout to BuildWitt for what you do!

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