Bank Employee Finds Military Work-Life Balance

Michael Shinn and his “stick buddy” Ben Russell at the Andalusia Airport in Alabama prior to a training flight.

Since the coronavirus pandemic hit earlier this year, more people are learning how to maintain a work-life balance. One of Farmers Bank & Trust’s newest employees has managed to master not only the work-life balance but the juggle of two careers. One of those being in service to our country for the Army National Guard.

Michael Shinn graduated from Arkansas Tech University with a Finance and Economics degree. When the opportunity presented itself to work at the Bank, he said he felt called to be a part of the team.

Shinn and his wife Reigny.

“There are several reasons I feel Farmers is the perfect fit for me, but perhaps the most significant is their huge support of first responders and military personnel,” Shinn said. “It hits close to home for me.”

Shinn grew up in Lonoke, AR, and he and his wife, Reigny, just purchased their first home in Benton. He’s currently a management trainee at the Bank’s branch in Malvern, and his office will be at the new location in Saline County on Highway 5 when it opens in the coming months.

UH-60 Black Hawk Pilot

During high school, Shinn participated in Lonoke’s JROTC program and that influenced his decision to enlist in the Arkansas Army National Guard. He’s now a second lieutenant and a UH-60 Black Hawk Pilot.

From Shinn’s point of view as he and Ben Russell are coming in for landing at the Cairns Army Airfield.

“I knew the Guard was the right choice for me because it allowed me to serve my country, and more specifically the state of Arkansas while continuing to attend college full time and achieve my civilian goals,” he said. “I attended the Officer Candidate School where I earned my commission and branch as an Army Aviation Officer.”

Serving in the National Guard places a unique challenge for traditional soldiers, and even more so for aircrew members. Shinn serves a minimum of one weekend a month and two weeks a year. But as an aviator, he is also required to meet minimum annual flight time requirements.

Finding A Balance

“To minimize the impact of my job at the Bank, I often fly after my normal workday,” he explained. “I’ll finish work, drive to Camp Robinson and spend approximately five hours in an evening to plan, preflight, fly, and debrief. To make all of this work, I continually seek advice from my peers and supervisors to ensure I am communicating and planning effectively to manage both careers.”

So far, it has worked out for him. He says his goals are simple – to impact those around him in a positive way and try to improve both organizations in any way he can.

“Regardless of their specific job, service members and first responders have all volunteered to sacrifice themselves in support of their fellow citizens,” he said.

Shinn with his (L-R) niece, Collins, brother-in-law, Carson, nephew, Cruz, sister, Kristy, step-dad, Jim, and mom, Kathryn, at “Family Day” during training in the UH-72 Lakota.

“For military service members in peacetime, this means they attend military schools, training events, and respond to domestic needs. For part-time soldiers, this comes at a cost. This takes time away from their families, their civilian occupations, and their personal pursuits. Even in the best of times, this puts a strain on the service member and their families.”

That’s why Farmers Bank & Trust chooses to fully support first responders and the Armed Forces. The Bank is accepting monetary donations as part of the 3rd Annual Heart of the Red, White & Blue Military Drive to create care packages for service members and their families. For more information and how you can help, read HERE.

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Cara is a graduate of Arkansas State University with a degree in Broadcast Journalism. Prior to joining the Bank in 2019, Cara worked as a news reporter/anchor in Tyler, TX. She has a passion for visual storytelling and is the host of Farmers Bank & Trust's Right at the Heart Podcast. She lives in Central Arkansas with her husband, Jordan, and daughter, London.