By Alun Thomas, U.S. Army Recruiting Battalion Phoenix
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- For one soldier, the Army has been a blessing, allowing him to live the type of life many others aren’t fortunate enough to experience.
Now after years away from his home state of New Mexico, Army Spc. Jeremy Garcia has returned to educate others on the benefits of military service, through the Special Recruiting Assistance Program.
The purpose of the SRAP is to allow enlisted soldiers to return to their home towns to assist local recruiters by sharing their Army training experiences with family, friends, high school classmates, future soldiers, veterans and community leaders.
Garcia, a wheeled vehicle mechanic with the 59th Quartermaster Company at Fort Carson, Colorado, has been in the Army for three years and jumped at the opportunity to return home to push the recruiting mission.
“Parts of New Mexico aren’t the greatest in terms of job opportunities and some people tend to give up after high school,” Garcia said. “I wanted to come home and see if I could help some of these kids out with their lives. Luckily I was selected for the SRAP and given the chance to work with the Phoenix Recruiting Battalion for 30 days to do that.”
Making an Impact
Two weeks into his duties with the SRAP, Garcia said he’s already seen the impact the Army can have on people who decide to join the military to further their lives.
“I went with a recruiter to see a local future soldier in a small town called Cuba. He’s the only Asian in the whole town,” he said. “He and his mother are all each other have. They run the local hotel and barely make ends meet. He’s a good kid, really squared away and decided to join the Army to help himself and his mother out.”
“While we were there he said to his mother, ‘We’ve made it mom.’ It made me realize how fortunate and lucky we are as U.S. citizens,” Garcia said. “To be a part of a positive impact on someone’s life is an irreplaceable act.”
Garcia grew up in a military household and said witnessing the unfettered joy of that future soldier, knowing what he’s about to enter, gave him chills.
“It set me back to reality … made me remember just how fortunate I am to be part of the Army and live this great life,” he continued.
Garcia hopes to experience further stories like this over the remainder of his time in the SRAP.
“I’m trying to accomplish as many enlistments as I can … my goal is to get kids out of these small towns and present to them everything the Army offers, whether it’s educational or medical benefits,” he said. “I want them to experience the same things I have, things that will change their lives for the better.”