Moss Adams Voices

Raychel Blocher: Finding Family

Raychel, a United States Air Force veteran, discusses the importance of camaraderie and opportunities for veterans at Moss Adams during this year’s Veterans Day commemoration.

Raychel Blocher

Raychel Blocher (she/her), data operations senior, first moved to Colorado for the United States Air Force Academy in 2014. After graduating in 2018, she spent more than a year as a pilot trainee at Vance Air Force Base in Oklahoma before an unexpected change in health led to her early retirement. She joined Moss Adams in September 2021 and quickly connected with the Veterans business resource group (BRG) in search of the camaraderie she found with US Air Force Academy classmates. As part of this year’s commemoration of Veterans Day, Raychel talks about her military experience, her new role as a belonging officer in our Denver office, and the importance of providing opportunities for veterans.

What should we hold in mind as we commemorate Veterans Day?

Our country has gotten better at recognizing what veterans experience, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, but there are things we don’t talk about. When we transition back to civilian life, it’s very difficult to be without the bonds we’ve made. My friends became my family. It’s hard to make bonds like that in the civilian world.

Even though it wasn’t long, I’m proud to have served alongside my friends and classmates. They’re doing incredible things here and abroad. They’re missing holidays, gone during important life events, and in places without civilian personal connections for a year or longer. We have threats to this country every day. Veterans have sacrificed a lot, and it’s all to ensure we stay safe at home.

Raychel Blocher
What inspired you to enlist?

I grew up fascinated with military movies and Band of Brothers. I loved the camaraderie and the idea of serving our country. When I learned about the Air Force Academy, I shadowed my sister’s friend who was attending, and I immediately fell in love. Her classmates did everything together. I knew this was it for me. I wanted to make the military my lifelong career.

I eventually graduated and went to Vance Air Force Base in Oklahoma for pilot training. I did well for six months—I even flew one plane solo. Then I got sick. On Thanksgiving, I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. I would need insulin 24/7. It meant my chances of staying in the US Air Force were low.

Raychel Blocher
Once you were diagnosed, what happened next?

I shed a lot of tears that day. I was doing so well. I looked forward to this lifelong career, but the diagnosis meant I couldn’t be a pilot. I couldn’t deploy.

The base had me stop flying right away because it wasn’t safe. I went through a medical board review, but the board decided I was unfit for duty. I was processed out of the military with a medical retirement in 2019.

The first year after the diagnosis was hard, and the hardest part was staying on base while my classmates went through training. I decided to serve my time back, so I got a job with the Alumni Association to keep the connection in my heart. The whole time, I heard the planes over my head. I helped other cadets in training; I helped my best friend study, but I wasn’t out there with them. I watched people live the dream I always wanted. It was a tough time.

What led you to Moss Adams?

Justin Fisher, who also attended the US Air Force Academy, sent a note to the Alumni Association searching for more graduates to join the firm. I decided to apply because I needed a fresh start to process things.

Working with Justin and Nicole Darty, another veteran, has made a huge difference in transitioning into my civilian job. They remind me that how I was taught to think in the military isn’t the same as how we operate in the civilian world. They’re pushing me, helping me, and taking time out of their day to provide resources to get to the next level. That’s incredible.

Raychel Blocher
How is the Veterans BRG helping other veterans in that transition?

As veterans, we carry a unique background. Transitioning into the civilian workforce means learning a different way of doing things, which can be overwhelming. The BRG supports other veterans through that, and I think it’s awesome.

You sometimes hear about toxic companies, but it’s not like that at Moss Adams. People here are motivated to see you succeed. It inspired me to accept the role of belonging officer in Denver. I want to show people who we are as a firm, and I want veterans interested in Moss Adams to see what we’re about. I get to help veterans be seen and succeed, just like the people here helped me.

That camaraderie is why I wanted to be in the military. Family has always been important to me. At the academy, my classmates had my back through the good and the bad. I feel that family bond at Moss Adams and within the Veterans BRG. I feel that camaraderie. For me, that’s a big deal.

Go Beyond the Desk

At Moss Adams, we believe in the power of possible to empower our clients and people to pursue success however they define it. Explore stories about our professionals, including their personal achievements, at our Beyond the Desk page.