Local soldier wins prestigious national award

Published: May. 1, 2017 at 10:43 PM CDT
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A local member of the Kentucky Army National Guard is receiving national attention.

Sergeant First Class Eric Vincent is a recruiter who mainly works with students at Western Kentucky University.

Those who know Sgt. Vincent are pretty consistent in what they have to say about his character.

"Eric is a man of his word, a man of integrity," says Lt. Col. Thomas MacMillin. "If you want something done need something done, he's going to make it happen."

When the U.S. Army Command Cadet Command awarded Vincent the William E. Depuy Award, he became the first member of the National Guard to do so.

The award is given out to people who go above and beyond for the national ROTC program.

Sgt. Vincent says he was given the award for just doing his job.

"My reward is watching these kids graduate and become officers," says Vincent, "[knowing] that job well done, you helped them be successful, giving them all the tools that they need."

Overcome with emotion, Sgt. Vincent's wife explains why the man she married is so special.

"He's a very strong person. He's a great leader," she says. "He and I have both been through a lot over the past few years. And he certainly knows how to make that easier."

Vincent says she believes her husband uses his strengths as a father to his advantage as an Army recruiter.

"Any situation," she says, "he takes and he leads, to make sure that we're teaching our boys how to tackle those hard times and to tackle whatever's put before us."

"I'm a dad," says Sgt. Vincent, "and that means a lot to me, and if my children were sitting down with the recruiter I would want them to be honest with them, telling the truth and put them on the best path for them."

"I want them to understand that you can believe in me and trust me," he goes on. "I'm going to be here with you to your college years."

"I invest what I've learned in them, and as I invest in that I get to see them grow, and I get to see them learn," he says. "I get to see them become better soldiers, watch them grow up. That means a lot to me to watch the progress and it's kind of like watching your kids grow up."

Sgt. Vincent says making sure his recruits get an education is a top priority.

He says almost all of the soldiers he recruits utilize the educational benefits at WKU.

Because education is so important to him, Sgt. Vincent is currently working on finishing his own bachelor's degree.