Mayaguez, PR --U.S. Army 2nd Lt. Valeria Soto made history by becoming the first recipient of Maj. Gen. Felix Santoni's leadership award during a commissioning ceremony held at the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) department, University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez College Campus, Jan. 30."After four years of hard work, all that sacrifice has paid off. I worked really hard in the ROTC. I always tried to keep a 300 score in the physical, giving the 100 percent in all the missions, but still I didn't expect to get recognized with the leadership award, "said Soto while mentioning her mother was always her inspiration."My mom was a member of the Army Reserve and she inspired me to keep studying and to follow her steps. I enrolled in the ROTC with the goal of serving the nation as my mom did," added the newly commissioned officer native from Manati, Puerto Rico, who obtained 3.83 grade point average.Soto will now start her military career as an engineer officer at Fort Hood, Texas, after completing the Basic Officers Leaders Course.The leadership award was established by the ROTC cadre to recognize Santoni's resolute trajectory in support of the U.S. Army in Puerto Rico. Santoni served in the U.S. Army Reserve for over 39 years, achieving the rank of Major General and serving in important posts around the world. He is currently the Senior Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army for Puerto Rico.The award was presented to Soto as the student who demonstrated high leadership potential."I felt that was very important that we recognized the most outstanding leader in the group. Primarily the young men and women that serve in the academy. I recognized in all of them the ability of becoming leaders. That's the main reason why we wanted to present this leadership award, "said Maj. Gen retired Felix Santoni.2nd Lt's Fabiola Acosta from the Interamerican University of San German and Sadie Rivera from the Antillean Adventist University, were also commissioned during the ceremony.Founded in 1916, the ROTC is a college program offered at more than 1,000 colleges and universities across the United States that prepares young adults to become officers in the U.S. Military, to include the US. Army Reserve-Puerto Rico, which is the largest U.S. Army command in the Caribbean.