By Jacqueline BoucherFebruary 10, 2020
It's up to Sgt. 1st Class Samuel Rodriguez to help Soldiers visualize a future in the Army.
Rodriguez was named Tobyhanna Army Depot's Warfighter of the Quarter for the first quarter of 2020 during a ceremony at the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins hockey military appreciation event on Feb. 8. He is an Army Reserve Career Counselor for the Army Reserve Careers Brigade in Pennsylvania.
The 20-year veteran serves as the primary career counselor supporting hundreds of Soldiers assigned to 10 reserve units scattered throughout the state. Rodriguez relies on a number of Army resources to help Soldiers get the most out of their benefits and careers.
"Rodriguez exemplifies the core values of the Army. He is an outstanding noncommissioned officer (NCO) and career counselor," said MSgt. Lonnie Lape, sustainment NCO, 13th Battalion, Army Reserve Careers Brigade in Colorado. "He leads by example and counsels hundreds of Soldiers, which positively impacts the end strength objectives of the Army Reserve. He is motivated, intelligent and a dedicated leader who goes out of his way to mentor and take care of Soldiers."
The young man from Puerto Rico was looking for adventure and job stability when he enlisted in the Army in 2000. Rodriguez started his military career as a mortuary affairs specialist and has served in a number of leadership positions. In addition, he's deployed multiple times to locations around the world.
Rodriguez attributes his success to the unconditional support of his family and a consistent devotion to Army values through action and decisions. He admits to having a bit of a competitive streak when it comes to doing his best.
"I realized a long time ago that I was born to be a Soldier," Rodriguez said. "A mentor once told me to step out of my comfort zone and to look for challenges. It's those experiences that have helped me grow into the person I am today."
His advice to others; believe in yourself, work hard, be persistent and never, never give up.
Peers refer to Rodriguez as a subject matter expert in all aspects of career counseling. He continually exceeds expectations by producing 151 percent of his assigned reenlistment goals, according to Lape.
As the theater retention manager for Soldiers serving in several Army Central Command units overseas, Rodriguez was responsible for as many as 4,000 reservists. His job responsibilities included managing retention strategies and mission objectives.
"Life is a learning experience, you need to keep a balance between work, family and yourself," Rodriguez said. "I really love what I do and it's an honor to have my work recognized."
The Warfighter of the Quarter Award recognizes the bond between the depot workforce and the warfighters they support here and around the world.