Skylar Bonné was always searching for more, more discipline, more ways to give back. As a teenager, he found it in the U.S. Navy.
“I think I felt a sense of wanting to give back and wanting to do some for those who can’t do some for themselves,” said Bonné.
The Bayside native served four years as a naval aircrewman operator, gathering intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance from the skies. He was stationed in Florida, Washington State and Japan.
“Flying was the most rewarding and exciting thing I’ve ever done in my life,” he said.
But like so many veterans, Bonné had trouble readjusting when he came home last year.
“It was hard. And I didn’t have a huge amount of people who understood and who got it.”
So Bonné started working with the New York Council Navy League of the United States, which supports troops on the water.
“A lot of them give everything they can and usually not for anything in return. You know it’s a hard deal,” said Bonné.
In June, Bonné joined another organization, the New York City Veterans Alliance. He’s now a volunteer operator with their Veteran Mutual Aid group, an initiative born out of the pandemic to help former service members in need.
“They have someone in their corner but someone who’s equipped with the knowledge and the resources to help make it through and to help make tomorrow better than today,” said James Fitzgerald, Deputy Director of the alliance.
“How’s your wife? How’s your son?” Bonné asked a Vietnam War veteran, who has been struggling with mortgage and mental health issues.
“You put me on the right road again so I appreciate that,” the veteran replied.
“Well thank you. I’m here for you. You know it’s hard out here and I think maybe vets get it a little harder. So I’m glad I can help,” said Bonné.
Bonné is also studying economics at Penn State. He interns at a veteran-run investment bank and says he’d eventually like to combine his passion for the veteran community and economics.
“I think I’m more fortunate than them so you know maybe it’s my obligation to help them.”
For constantly finding more and more ways to help the veteran community, Skylar Bonné is our New Yorker of the Week.