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Changing lives … it’s what recruiters do

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Keith Connella
  • 336th Recruiting Squadron
As recruiters it's easy to understand the impact of what we do. Seeing the transition of young adults into Airmen is the most rewarding part of this job.

But, what about what we don't see? It's hard to comprehend the way we are changing lives without knowing one's full story. Sure, we are taught to probe to find needs, but there is a lot more to each applicant than what we learn in a 45-minute appointment.

I had the opportunity of knowing the life story of one of my applicants. Her name is Ashley Boucher.

Ashley was from a small town working a dead-end job as a waitress in the local diner. She is married and has two young sons. Her husband is a good provider for their family but, his job causes him to be gone most of the year. The four of them lived in an RV to accommodate his traveling.

Ashley has a GED and hopes of one day being a veterinarian. Knowing her personally, it was easy to see her needs and tried selling her on the Air Force. It took over a year to convince her and another eight months to get the college credits she needed to join.

It was one of the proudest days in my career to attend my sister's Air Force Basic Military Training graduation. On May 1, she graduated Air Traffic Control School and headed to Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., for her first duty assignment.

She and her husband are looking at purchasing their first home and the travel trailer will be used for family vacations. They are now able to be together as a family and have some stability.

She is as proud as any Airman and has a real sense of meaning in her life. I'm sure that each person we put in has one of these stories but, we don't see the total impact of the before and after.

It has been a real eye opener for me to see things from this perspective. I now try to look deeper into each applicant's situation to see what's going on in their lives to find their real need.