Nearly 100 civilian aides to the Secretary of the Army are at the CASA National Conference on Belvoir this week, and, at Monday's luncheon at the Officers' Club, Gen. Paul Funk, TRADOC commanding general, introduced them to an inspiring retired Soldier and Medal of Honor recipient, who urged them all to re-think how to describe the importance of Army life to youngsters and the community.Retired Staff Sgt. David Bellavia was awarded the Medal of Honor for actions while serving as a squad leader with the 1st Infantry Division in support of Operation Phantom Fury in Fallujah, Iraq, when a squad from his platoon became trapped by intense enemy fire. He was the first living recipient to earn the Medalof Honor for his bravery in the Iraq War.Bellavia spends a lot of time touring the country to meet with ROTC cadets and Soldiers at basic training, and he said they ignite his hope for the future.A generation of leaders"This generation is the best generation of Americans who has ever lived. They are going to do their job; they are lethal; they know exactly what they're doing and they're here for the right reasons," Bellavia said.In their capacity as Army ambassadors and advisors, Bellavia urged every CASA to highlight the potential and growth that military service offers."Our job as civilians, as veterans, is to remind young people and parents every day that, if you give us your loved one, not only will we treat them with the dignity and respect they deserve, but they will become our loved one," Bellavia said. "The Army is the world's biggest adoption agency. It doesn't matter where you came from, or what you look like, or who you love -- we'll take you. But, we'll also make you a part of our family. And, when you're a part of our family you're always a part of our family. We take care of our own, forever."When you're talking to a young person, or to a school administrator, I don't want to hear about your time in the Army," he said. "Tell them about what you're doing now; what you did in the world; what kind of job you had. Because that house, that law degree, that job in finance -- would you have done those things without the Army?" Bellavia asked.Army professionalismBellavia highlighted the positive changes that have taken place over the decades, and that the Army is now a great place for women and African Americans."Today, I can tell you this is a world-class, professional military that looks at equal opportunity as important as it does force protection. We drill it into every single Soldier's head: 'you will treat your peer with dignity and respect; not because it's good for mission success, and not because it's good for your promotion; you do it because it's the proper thing to and it's your obligation to do it. That's who you are,'" said Bellavia.Bellavia urged the civilian aides to extend their pride beyond window stickers."Some of your cars are like DD214s -- you've got your Airborne wings on the back. … You're proud of your service, and you should be proud. But, show how proud you are of your Army by going into your community and telling people, 'I want these kids to have the same experience I had, and I want to talk about my Army experience in the present tense.'""I served 15 years ago, but I am here because my Army brought me here. My obligation isn't to myself; my obligation is to make my family more secure and make my community better by making my Army elite," he said. "That means I need your son and daughter to make our Army elite. There is greatness in everyone. The Army will show these kids how great they can be," said Bellavia.