A Joint Base Lewis-McChord noncommissioned officer will be headed to Fort Bragg, N.C., early next year to compete in the U.S. Army Forces Command Career Counselor of the Year competition, after securing the title of I Corps Career Counselor of the Year Monday.

Staff Sergeant Matt Kindle of the 2nd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, was named the I Corps Fiscal 2017 Career Counselor of the Year during the annual Career Counselor of the Year Awards Ceremony at the Eagle's Pride Golf Course on Lewis Main. If he wins at Fort Bragg, he'll go on to compete against the best career counselors in the Army for the top honors of Army Career Counselor of the Year.

"I feel ready," Kindle said. "I feel pumped up. I've got all the career counselors in all of (I Corps) to help me out and back me up. We're all in this together and we've got to win this."

Kindle was recognized by Lt. Gen. Stephen R. Lanza, I Corps commanding general, and I Corps Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Grinston with the 2017 career counselor trophy and the Army Commendation Medal.

"I feel overwhelmed," said an excited Kindle after receiving the award. "It's a great accomplishment and I couldn't have done it without all the (other) career counselors helping me out. We're close, have camaraderie, and it's just very surreal to have succeeded this far, and I couldn't have done it without them."

Also announced during the awards ceremony was the I Corps Army Reserve Career Counselor of the Year, Sgt. 1st Class Gregory Weston.

He will go on to compete against other candidates from across the Reserve for the top honor of U.S. Army Reserve Career Counselor of the Year.

Additionally, every brigade retention team was recognized for meeting their annual retention goals for fiscal 2016.

Recognized were: 7th Infantry Division; 2nd Infantry Division Artillery; 1st Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division; 16th Combat Aviation Brigade; 17th Field Artillery Brigade; 201st Expeditionary Military Intelligence Brigade and the 555th Engineer Brigade.

Career counselors have the unique role of helping Soldiers find opportunities for continued service and the Army retain people with skills that can improve the readiness and capability of the force. Counselors are typically the first and last person Soldiers will see when making decisions about the future of their career in the Army.

"It's more than a paycheck," Lanza said of military service, during his opening remarks. "It's about being something bigger than yourself, it's about being part of a team."