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Army recruiters work to be part of the community

Staff Sgt. William Green stands outside the U.S. Army recruiting station, 4301 N. Main St. The Roswell station was recently honored as the top small recruiting station for the San Antonio battalion and became a member of the Roswell Chamber of Commerce. (Juno Ogle Photo)

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Visibility is a key part of the job of an Army recruiter, not only in enlisting new members to the military branch but also just being part of the community.

That’s why the recruiters at Roswell’s Army recruiting station say you’ll often see them at community events and volunteering around town. The station, at 4301 N. Main, also recently became a member of the Roswell Chamber of Commerce.

“We’re part of the chamber of commerce, but we try to just do as much as we can in the community, volunteering,” Staff Sgt. William Green said.

“Our goal is mainly to just show that we’re not just trying to get the sons and daughters of the community to join the Army. It’s more than that. We’re here to help the community,” Staff Sgt. Cory Wells said.

Visibility can be an issue at times with the recruiting site, as it’s not directly on Main Street. Located behind the AT&T building, it’s slightly hidden.

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“A lot of people don’t know we’re here,” Green said.

He said sometimes when he’s about town out of uniform but wearing an Army sweatshirt, he’s often asked if he’s in the National Guard or with the New Mexico Military Institute.

The two help make themselves more visible by participating in community activities, such as the recent Night of the Living Zoo, and they also volunteer as coaches with the local high schools.

“Part of our job is being an ambassador, so just being the best person possible. That’s why we like to get out there,” Green said.

Getting out there was difficult throughout the early part of the pandemic, especially when students were in remote learning.

“Last year there was a lot more social media,” Green said.

“We’re enjoying this year a lot more because we’re out in the community,” he said. “We just require a little more creativity.”

The pandemic continues to hamper some recruiting efforts, they said. Even though they can now get into the schools for visits, they have found that student grades are still suffering.

“There’s a lot of subs (substitutes) going on right now in schools, and it’s causing some issues with the students. We have seen some kids that are failing,” Wells said.

“I can’t even remember how many times last year that happened where a student was super far behind. They came to us to try to join the Army and they were not on track at all,” Green said.

In those instances, Green said, they met with the student and a school counselor.

“We got them on track and whether they joined the Army or not, at the end of the day, it’s still a net positive that they did graduate and go do bigger things,” he said.

Even with those challenges, the Roswell station has done well in its recruiting efforts. For the third quarter of this year, the team was named the top small recruiting station in the San Antonio battalion.

One of the biggest misconceptions the recruiters said they run into is that education is not important in the military.

“They think if they join the Army, they can’t go to college, which is just silly. That’s one of the big misconceptions that when we sit down with parents, we have to break through. We’re not shutting off your child from college, we’re actually pushing a child to college,” Green said.

The Army offers $4,000 a year in tuition assistance, he said.

Both he and Wells are working on degrees through colleges with virtual programs. Green is working on a bachelor’s degree in homeland security from Liberty University, Lynchburg, Virginia.

Green has been in the Army for eight years and plans to retire after 20 years, when he’s 37. He’s been in Roswell for two years of a three-year assignment to the recruiting station.

“I’m certainly on track, but if I want to continue working, if I find myself bored or whatever, I will go work at the Department of Homeland Security. What’s great is a lot of my Army stuff transfers over as far as seniority and all,” he said.

Wells is studying for a business degree at Post University, a private college in Waterbury, Connecticut. Wells started in the Army 11 years ago as a mechanic, but after being selected for recruiting, he decided to make that his career.

“I kind of fell in love with it. I knew I didn’t want to be a mechanic. I did it because I wanted a skill set that would help me if I didn’t find what I wanted to do,” he said.

“It’s really enjoyable to see a kid that needs help or that wants to be in the Army. It’s pretty satisfying to actually see them go on and be successful,” he said.

City/RISD reporter Juno Ogle can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or reporter04@rdrnews.com.

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