FORT KNOX, Ky. -- Most of the time, Middletown, New York's, center leader is working with his recruiters to make mission. But once a month, Sgt. 1st Class Ryan Javier is found at a private party, wedding, festival, corporate function or event standing behind a sound system playing music.
Javier is a mobile disc jockey and has been playing music professionally for two years.
"I do this because I love music and enjoy seeing people having fun and dancing," Javier said. "Music brings people together. I like making memories for people. When I practice at home, it's my own happy place."
Javier plays music at unit picnics, holiday parties, balls, organizational days and Future Soldier events. But he doesn't provide music for high school events. Javier said he wants to keep his relationship with his schools on a professional level.
"I don't want to take any money from my schools," Javier said. "I believe in helping my schools in any way the Army can help, but I don't want it to be a conflict of interest.
"I also don't want to undercut the other full-time DJs who do this for a career. ... If I were to play for free for a school, it's kind of like I'm cheating somebody out of this who does it full-time."
As an infantryman, Javier was assigned to Recruiting Command in 2007. He reclassified to become a 79R recruiter in 2010 because he said he enjoys being able to help young men and women achieve their dreams like his recruiter did for him.
"I had a couple of moral things on my record, and I had to finish high school," Javier said. "(My recruiter) pretty much stuck around with me when other recruiters pretty much just turned their backs. I had a GED but no diploma, and many didn't want to give me the time of day. My recruiter stuck with me for about a year and a half while I was going to night school to get a diploma. He kept in contact with me and invited me to functions."
Now, 13 years after joining the Army, he is a successful center leader. Javier is the go-to noncommissioned officer when the first sergeant is not present, according to Lt. Col. Christopher Ingles, Albany Recruiting Battalion commander.
"His abilities to perform at the higher level (to plan and execute and get the job done) led to his nomination by the battalion command group for the 1st Recruiting Brigade Trainer position," Ingles said.
"Sgt. 1st Class Javier also composed an effective and motivating Future Soldier Training Program that achieved a 99 percent ship rate for fiscal year 2016 - a drastic increase from the previous year's retention rate, which was 88 percent."
Ingles said the Middletown Center consistently meets its phase line and quarterly missions achieving 110 percent of the Regular Army mission and 127 percent of the Reserve mission in fiscal year 2016 - a milestone the center had not achieved for seven years.
Javier was named Center Leader of the Year from the battalion in 2015, Center Leader of the Year runner-up for fiscal year 2016 and Top Center Leader for the 3rd quarter of fiscal year 2016.