From Goldman to Grunt


Mincio's Wall Street background was put to use during his time in Iraq. He served as his brigade's liaison to the Ministry of Finance for the northern province of Nineveh and advised on privatization of state-owned enterprises and the restoration of Nineveh banking enterprises, including the integration with the Central Bank of Baghdad.

But perhaps Mincio's claim to fame in the Army is the time when he helped arrange for 8,000 pounds of Starbucks coffee to be distributed to some 5,000 troops at Fort Lewis prior to deployment to Iraq (pulling off the maneuver by air, land and sea, and with an assist from his wife, Heather, who upon moving to the Seattle area took a position with the coffee company.)

"Everybody remembers this coffee," Mincio said with a laugh.

One of Mincio's closest friends in the Army was a brash, fun-loving California kid 10 years his junior, Jesse Williams.

"Fearless," Mincio said of Williams. "A soldier's soldier."

After Mincio and Williams both finished their tours around the same time, they returned to Fort Lewis, relishing having made it back when others had not.

Mincio officially resigned from Goldman. He'd been on unpaid military leave the whole time.

In March 2005, Mincio was handpicked by the Brigade Command sergeant major to travel to Washington, D.C., to participate in a Congressional hearing on the progress of the war.

Before testifying, he visited the Pentagon and met with Gen. Peter Schoomaker, at that time the Army's chief of staff.

"I feel very fortunate to have had this opportunity," Mincio said.

That summer, Mincio was honored again -- chosen to serve as a groomsman at his friend Jesse Williams' wedding.

Not long after that, in May 2006, Williams was called back to Iraq for a second tour. Before he left, Williams legally designated Mincio as the primary beneficiary of his Soldiers General Life Insurance policy, and asked that should anything happen to him that he help look after the finances of his new bride Sonya and their newborn daughter, Amaya, until she was 18.

"I think he saw me as his older brother," Mincio said. "And of course I told him I would do anything for him. I definitely saw him as a younger brother."

On April 8, 2007, Staff Sgt. Jesse Williams was killed by sniper fire in Baqubah, Iraq. He was just 25.

Later that year, Mincio, with help from a close friend, Matt Corry, organized Team Jesse to raise money for a trust fund benefiting his fallen friend's young daughter Amaya, now 4.

These days, Mincio has begun the process of making Team Jesse a bona fide 501(c) nonprofit to help other surviving family members of fallen veterans.

"I can't think of a better way to honor a friend who was killed defending our freedom," Mincio said.

A fundraiser is being planned for January. And next September, on the 10th anniversary of 9/11, Mincio plans to embark on another personal patriotic journey, something epic, ambitious. He's still working out in his head what it might be.

"I feel like I have to do something significant to mark the 10-year anniversary of 9/11 and raise awareness for families of veterans," Mincio said. "It's too important. We can't forget."

There's no doubting he will figure out his mission and follow through. Mincio is not one to ignore a calling.

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