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News | Aug. 24, 2020

Recruiter brings swear-in ceremony to Future Soldier's home so family can participate

By Amanda Surmeier USAREC Public Affairs

When Future Soldier Ronald Kaszian Sauerbrey wanted his family there to witness his first step into the U.S. Army, his recruiter adapted and turned the experience into a moment to remember.

Sgt. 1st Class Derek Melendez, Mid-Atlantic Recruiting Battalion, was determined to give Kaszian Sauerbrey a true welcome into the Army, despite coronavirus restrictions that currently limit access to Military Entrance Processing Stations.

On the day of the ceremony, Melendez and his company commander, Capt. Mehmet Bahadir, went to Kaszian Sauerbrey’s home and administered the Oath of Enlistment in front of his mother, step dad, brothers, sisters and grandparents on his front lawn.

As his brother and sister held the flag behind him, the ceremony attracted the neighborhood and cars stopped to see what was happening.

“Watching his mother and grandparents tear up as they watched him take the oath is something I won't soon forget,” Melendez said. “It meant the world to his family to be able to see it.”

Kaszian Sauerbrey shipped to basic training at Fort Leonard Wood this month to become a combat medic specialist. He was promoted the day before he left because he passed the Army Physical Fitness Test and completed 10 online Future Soldier classes. He will head to Fort Sam Houston following graduation for his Advanced Individual Training.

This year has presented many challenges for recruits and recruiters, but Melendez believes in giving Future Soldiers the very best experience to kick-start their Army careers no matter the circumstances.

“I don’t think someone is a good Army recruiter because of how many people they put in the Army,” Melendez said. “I think someone is a good recruiter because they go above and beyond for the people they put in the Army. Go out of your way for them. It will pay off.”

Melendez joined the Army in 2002 to serve his country, travel the world, and push himself to new plateaus.

Originally, an intelligence analyst, Melendez came to recruiting and never looked back.

“We change lives every single day and in turn, our lives are changed as well,” Melendez said. “We are able to make an impact like no other place in the United States Army.”

Seventeen and a half years later, the Philadelphia native lives in Pennsauken, New Jersey, with his wife and two children. He has a bachelor’s and two master’s degrees and plans to start his PhD next year in higher education. He is also an entrepreneur, running a small business that sells authentic vintage jerseys from the ‘80s and ‘90s to people all over the world.

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