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Dodge City Daily Globe - Dodge City, KS
  • Change is a recurring theme for recruiter

  • Adjusting to change and overcoming challenges has been a recurring theme in the life of Staff Sergeant Jaime De La Cruz, an Army Reserves recruiter and new resident of Dodge City.SSG De La Cruz was born in California and is a proud American citizen. However, when he was very young his family moved to a small town in ...
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  • Adjusting to change and overcoming challenges has been a recurring theme in the life of Staff Sergeant Jaime De La Cruz, an Army Reserves recruiter and new resident of Dodge City.
    SSG De La Cruz was born in California and is a proud American citizen. However, when he was very young his family moved to a small town in the state of Jalisco, Mexico. He grew up in that small town, where he went to school and spoke Spanish like everyone else.
    Suddenly, at the age of fifteen, SSG De La Cruz left behind the school, lifestyle, and language that he had grown accustomed to when he returned to the United States with his family, he said.
    Upon arrival, he was enrolled in a high school, which he eventually graduated from but
    even before graduating, SSG De La Cruz knew what he wanted to do with his life. At the age of 17, SSG De La Cruz joined the Army Reserves.
    "This is what I want," he remembered thinking.
    SSG De La Cruz fulfilled his reserve duties and also worked as a server in a restaurant, he said. In addition, he took adult English classes to help him speak the language on the same level as everyone else and to enable him to be successful in his chosen profession. "This is a good start," he remembered telling himself. "It is going to go well."
    Eventually, SSG De La Cruz married his wife Tania and together the couple had three children.
    Though happily married, SSG De La Cruz said the financial pressures of raising a family, influenced his decision to request an active duty assignment.
    Fortunately, the active duty assignment has worked well for him.
    "The Army gave me the ability to take care of my family," he said.
    The Army has also provided SSG De La Cruz with other benefits that have enhanced his quality of life. "[The Army] gave me the training that I needed to be successful," he said. "I have two homes. I have medical benefits and I have used the education benefits."
    The Army has also changed the way that SSG De La Cruz approaches life. "It has helped me to become more mature," he said. The diversity of the Army's soldiers has also made it easier for him to relate to people from different backgrounds than his.
    The latest change in SSG De La Cruz's life is taking place now as he and his family adjusts to life in southwest Kansas, he said.
    His transition to life on the plains has been made easier with the help of his fellow soldiers. A fellow recruiter scouted out possible living arrangements for the De La Cruz before he arrived and has since helped the staff sergeant to become acclimated to the community.
    Page 2 of 2 - Before he arrived in Dodge City, SSG De La Cruz was warned that there is a distinct smell in the air here. SSG De La Cruz's son had also heard about the smell and was concerned about how he would adjust to the constant odor. Luckily, the smell isn't as bad as he and his son feared that it might be, he said. "I can still smell it, though," SSG De La Cruz added.
    Though change has been constant in SSG De La Cruz's life, he believes that it is important for young people to have a plan. He encourages the prospective soldiers that he meets to not view the Army as a last choice, but rather as an opportunity, he said.
    Some of the benefits of being a soldier are the ability to provide for one's family, the ability to travel, the education and medical benefits, and a sense of belonging, SSG De La Cruz said.
    SSG De La Cruz joined the reserves in order to give his life direction and to help pay his bills, he said. It has given him what he desired and it has enabled him to overcome numerous challenges and adapt to change. "Joining the Army is a good way to become successful," he said.

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