Office Maj. Gen. James R. Sholar, deputy commanding general, U.S. Army Reserve Command, said goodbye to friends and colleagues at a farewell ceremony April 26 in front of USARC headquarters on Fort McPherson.

"There are not enough words to say goodbye to Ron Sholar - because we've already used them two or three times," Lt. Gen. Jack C. Stultz, USARC commanding general, jokingly told those in attendance, adding, "It gets to the character of the individual that we've never been able to let him go. Ron Sholar is an icon in the Army Reserve."

Sholar, who was commissioned as a second lieutenant in 1971 at the University of Tennessee, has served in a variety of leadership capacities through nearly 40 years of service to the nation. Stultz said that through the transformation of the Army Reserve in recent years, Sholar was his top choice to maintain that momentum.

"We kept thinking that this operational tempo was going to slow down, yet it never has," said Stultz. "So Ron came in here and really carried the torch."

For Sholar, the day was filled with emotion and gratitude for "an incredible opportunity to have lived among heroes for the last 39 years."

Through his time in service, Sholar has served at all levels of command and said the mentoring he received at all ranks made him the leader he is today.

"They (mentors) helped me learn to lead, but equally important, they also taught me perspective, balance, care and compassion," Sholar said. "(Soldiers) are concerned only about whether you are competent and whether you care."

Reflecting on his career, Sholar said, "The toughest job I've ever done is to hand a flag to a mother, a father (or) a spouse of a fallen Soldier. "We spend little time ... trying to figure out why Soldiers are willing to go into harm's way to do what so few others are willing to do," said Sholar. "But over time, it becomes more important to us as leaders and we do come to understand it better."

Sholar said military service is about more than unit patches or numbers.

"It (military service) is about the sense of fulfillment in knowing we serve with honor, we do our job, and (we) accomplish the mission that our nation has assigned to us," he said. "It's also about the camaraderie and sense of belonging. Not just a numeric designation - but the real sense of belonging to each other."

Sholar continued, saying, "Recently, a friend asked, 'What are you most proud of about your service'' Without hesitating, I answered, 'What we do in the Army Reserve matters. We matter because we are relevant, we are counted on, and we deliver what is expected of us!'"

In closing, Sholar quoted John "Bud" Hawk, a sergeant in the 90th Infantry Division who was awarded a Medal of Honor in World War II. '"(Hawk said) I was a citizen Soldier. I came when I was called and I did the best that I could.' That's what I tried to do also," said Sholar.