Journal Entry: Justin Norcutt-05/03/2024

Journal Entry

April 29, 2024 – May 3, 2024

Reflecting on this whirlwind week, I find myself flooded with a spectrum of emotions—gratitude, exhaustion, pride, and determination. This week marked the culmination of my fifth week at the Workforce Training Academy Heavy Equipment Operator Training in Eloy, Arizona, hosted by Empire CAT, and it’s been a journey unlike any other.

First and foremost, I must extend my immense gratitude to the individuals and organizations that have made this dream a reality. Prison Professor’s Michael Santos, Bill McGlashan, Jerry Valenzuela, Ron Morris, Empire Southwest, and the dedicated staff at the Workforce Training Academy have been instrumental in my journey. Empire CAT’s top-notch instructors and unwavering support have been invaluable to me. I wouldn’t be where I am today without their guidance and dedication. The countless hours they’ve invested in helping me navigate the intricacies of heavy equipment operation have not gone unnoticed, and I am deeply grateful for their commitment.

Equally significant is my own commitment to learning and growth. Late nights spent immersed in study materials have become routine, a testament to my determination to excel in this new chapter of my life. Every challenge I’ve encountered has only fueled my desire to push myself further and expand my skills.
This week, the intensity ramped up as we delved into new topics and faced rigorous testing. From Scrappers to Loaders to on-road dump trucks, the days were long and demanding. Balancing school with my new job added an extra layer of challenge, but I tackled each obstacle head-on, driven by the belief that success was within my grasp.

The pressure was palpable as we confronted written exams and on-equipment evaluations, but I’m proud to announce that my hard work paid off. With each test conquered, my confidence swelled, and I emerged from the week with a renewed sense of purpose.

Yet, my commitment to learning didn’t wane when the school day ended. Even after long hours of work and study, I persisted in investing in myself and my future, recognizing that every sacrifice made now will yield dividends in the future.

As I reflect on this week, I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the opportunities that lie ahead and fueled by a determination to continue pushing myself to new heights. With the unwavering support of those around me and my own resolve, I am confident that I can achieve anything I set my mind to.

Justin Ray Norcutt