Derek served in the US Army for four years, as a specialist in the Artillery. Through those years he was stationed at Fort Lewis then Fort Benning and deployed to Iraq from Fort Benning from 2009-10. He then enrolled at Venango College in the fall of 2012 as a psychology student.
He is active with the Venango College Veterans Club having served as it secretary last year and has participated in many of the club projects including the Tough Muddier, a grueling obstacle course designed by British Special Forces and all funds raised are given to the Wounded Warrior Project. He also has participated in more local club events including the Adopt a Nursing Home program where club members visit elderly veterans in nursing homes during the holidays and veterans day. Has also participated in joint fundraisers like Dogs for Dogs, a fundraiser where club members sell hot dogs for proceeds and other donations such as pet food, cleaning supplies, cat litter and toys which are then given to the Venango County Humane Society.