SAN ANTONIO (Jan. 3, 2014) -- U.S. Army All-American Bowl week is more than a celebration of high school football, it provides the Army an opportunity to showcase its education opportunities, training and leadership skills.

Mentors like Sgt. 1st Class Joseph Kishel, 5th U.S. Army Recruiting Brigade Master Trainer, are assigned to the players throughout the week; giving them the chance to show the players that excellence comes from character and strength.

"The mentors teach that Army Strong is about resiliency in life -- being resilient to handle life's problems," said Kishel. "True character of the best-of-the-best is when things aren't the best. That's what Army Strong is."

Kishel, a father of five, has more than 23 years of active duty service. He says spending time with the football stars is like bridging the gap between what they see on the video games and real life.

"They see that we are husbands, wives, dads -- that we care," he said.

On New Year's Day, Kishel accompanied several players on a trip to the Methodist Children's Hospital. The visit with the ill children allowed him to teach the players that with recognition comes responsibility to the community -- what Soldiers do when they serve and defend our Nation.

Kishel said it is important to him that the students learn "Everything (that they experience) is a part of their journey. Even if they don't make it to the NFL; learn from their mistakes, as well as their successes, and move forward."

"Everyone thinks that 100 percent is perfection, but if you get 80 percent and you put in 100 percent of the effort, then that is perfect for you," Kishel said.

Soldier mentors, coaches, family members, friends and fans will be cheering their players on at the 2014 U.S. Army All-American Bowl at the Alamodome in San Antonio Jan. 4. Kick-off is scheduled for noon central standard time.

Page last updated Fri January 3rd, 2014 at 00:00