By Zachary Mott
88th Readiness Division
A strong desire to be a good example to not only his children, but those around him as well, is what compelled Sgt. 1st Class James Williams to accept his cousin’s request to participate in a virtual career day for an elementary school in New Jersey.
Williams, who serves as a deployment health assessment program liaison officer for the 88th Readiness Division here, filmed a video answering several prompted questions and submitted it to his cousin, April Middleton, who works as a school counselor for Camden Street Elementary School in Newark, N.J., to be played during the event.
“Because I’m a dad, I feel it’s important that we set a good example for the kids and if we’re doing something good in our lives we show them what we’re doing,” he said. “That way maybe it’ll reach some of them and it will give them something good to want to strive to. It will give them a good influence or a good person to want to be like.”
During his nearly 23 year military career, Williams has served in the Marine Corps and in the Army, both active duty and Reserve, as a motor transport operator or 88M.
“I’m using my daughter [as an example] because as far as explaining what I’m doing, explaining things to elementary school is kind of different from adults,” Williams said of how he prepared for the video. “They’re not going to want to hear about the administrative part, they’re going to want to hear about the exciting stuff.”
The virtual career day will bring in people from all elements of the working society, Middleton said. They include a news anchor, aircraft mechanic, chemical engineer, police officer, therapist, fashion freelancer, nurse and pilot. She said she wanted to include a military perspective “to show students one of the possible routes to a successful adult life if college is not an option.”
Helping out is something Williams said he enjoys most about serving in the military. He said his most enjoyable moments have been helping others.
“Training new Soldiers on how to drive new vehicles that they didn’t think they could drive,” was how Williams answered what his favorite assignment has been. “Over my career I’ve trained two or three thousand Soldiers.”
With students ages 7 to 14 attending the virtual career day, Middleton wants students to be able to see themselves in any one of the professions participating.
“My hope is for the students to gain knowledge of what they learn today in school will help them in the future,” she said.