Marine Officer, Iraq Veteran and Entrepreneur Zach Iscol Receives 2015 Alumni Award
Zach Iscol ’94 was presented with the New Canaan Country School Alumni Award on the school’s campus May 15, 2015.
“Zach’s military and post-military career is remarkable and certainly exemplifies our school’s mission in so many ways,” said Interim Head of School Peter O’Neill. “We congratulate Zach on his many contributions – both his military service and his commitment to American veterans.”
The New Canaan Country School Alumni Award is presented each year to honor an alumna or alumnus who best embodies the statement from the school’s mission, “New Canaan Country School inspires students to be lifelong learners with the courage and confidence to make a positive contribution to the world.”
While on campus, Iscol spoke to Middle and Upper School students about his experience as a combat-decorated Marine Officer. Iscol served two tours in Iraq and on other assignments throughout Africa, the Middle East and into Central Asia. While courage and confidence are certainly attributes which may be ascribed to platoon leaders, Iscol made a point to address the importance of building relationships.
“True leadership starts with genuinely caring for those around you. Strong relationships lead to greater understanding, which ultimately is as important as being physically fit and well prepared,” he said.
Since leaving active duty, he has worked with non-government organizations, advocacy groups and U.S. government agencies to aid Iraqi refugees and provide asylum to those in need -- especially employees and translators who have risked their lives serving alongside US and Coalition forces in Iraq. In 2010, Iscol released a film, The Western Front, which documents the war in the Al Anbar province and the decisions he made to protect his fellow Marines and innocent Iraqi civilians.
Iscol is also the founder and CEO of Hire Purpose (www.hirepurpose.com), an organization that offers job and career advice for veterans. In addition, he is the executive director of the Headstrong Project (getheadstrong.org) an organization that provides support and treatment for veterans struggling with the mental issues associated with combat and the wounds of war.