Adam Curcuru just started his job in mid-March — but you wouldn’t know it by talking to him.
Yesterday, the city’s new director of veterans services met with veterans and others during an open house meet-and-greet with community members.
He was positioned in his office as though it were his natural habitat, sticky notes already on the computer and dates penned in the desk calendar.
Curcuru said he hit the ground running — meeting veterans, filing benefit forms and putting faces to names in the paperwork.
“It’s important for me to feel that physical aspect,” he said, noting that those who come to him are people with very real needs, not just names in a folder.
This isn’t Curcuru’s first foray into veterans work and Gloucester’s veterans community.
The 26-year-old city resident has worked under an internship with the Gloucester veterans service office, assisted with the Gloucester Squares and Memorials project to replace signs, worked on military sexual trauma training and worked to support veteran compensation claims. He also served as a volunteer leader in Cape Ann’s War on Terror Coalition and remains an adviser for the Patton Veterans Project.
He completed his veterans service officer training in Leominster in 2013 — all after an active career in the U.S. Marine Corps, where he became a corporal and served in some of the most hostile areas in Iraq and Afghanistan — the cities of Fallujah and Marja.
Curcuru served in Fallujah in 2007 and 2008, then was deployed to Afghanistan from December 2009 through July 2010.
“Those are two hallmarks of what I accomplished while I was in there,” he said. “The benchmark of what I was trying to do (was) to serve my country in whatever capacity I could.”
He was wounded in Marja, sustaining concussions, and was awarded the Purple Heart in December 2012. Other awards he received include the Combat Action Ribbon, the Presidential Unit Citation, the Good Conduct Medal and the Global War on Terror Medal, among others; he was honorably discharged in 2010.