HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- As the U.S. Army Reserve approaches its 111th birthday, local Soldiers, ROTC cadets, civilians, retirees and supporters honored the commitment and dedication of Army Reserve Soldiers, past and present, with an April 17th breakfast at the Jackson Center.

The milestone, officially observed April 23, recognizes the role the Army Reserve has in delivering decisive capabilities to the battlefield by engaging its 200,000 Soldiers, who often juggle full-time careers, educational opportunities and families with a commitment to serve their nation.

Acknowledging that promise comes with a return receipt on leadership, said retired Maj. Gen. Michael Diamond, who was the guest speaker for the event, which was hosted by the Redstone-Huntsville Chapter of the Association of the U.S. Army and North Alabama Veterans and Fraternal Organizations Coalition.

"I live by two rules. First, leading is an honor and a privilege. If you're having a bad day, you're sad or blue, and you want to crank up the pity party, go back to number one," Diamond said.

Diamond, who spent a combined 35 years on active duty and in the Reserve before retirement, commanded at every level in Army logistics, including as the 377th Theater Sustainment Command (Forward), and is currently the CEO and President of Diamond Strategy Group in his civilian capacity.

"As we go through our careers and look at what opportunities we had to advance, get promoted, we should also look at who helped shape it," Diamond said. "What roads did we take, and who are we looking after?"

Diamond, who conducted his speech on the floor in lieu of a podium, asked the audience to weigh in on individual examples of how mentorship wrapped in leadership has influenced them.

"As an ROTC cadet, I'd have to say our mentors are the cadre. First and foremost, they have been with us since freshman year and helped us understand our roles and responsibilities back when we did not realize what they truly were, and then we had to catch on from there," said Cadet Africa Hall, a Military Science Four cadet who is set to receive her active-duty commission May 1 from Alabama A&M University.

Diamond concluded his talk by stating that while military service is giving back in its own way, he encouraged the audience to look at "the end of the road" as an opportunity to continue on the path of community service.

"When we go into retirement, do we make the right decision on what we give to others? If it does not involve the 'serve' word, we may be missing something. So, how can we best serve others to make the world a better place?"