NDNG recruiter helps high school students with post-graduation decisions

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WISHEK, N.D. - There can be many benefits for a student graduating high school to join the National Guard, but there can also be a lot of misconceptions.

Recruiters are available to answer any questions potential citizen soldiers have, but their job is much more than just answering phone calls and emails.

Staff Sergeant Matt McKinney's first stop of the day Friday was in Ashley. The school will graduate four seniors this year, but he says outreach there is just as important as any big school.

"The opportunities we have are the same for everybody across the board, and I think that's one of the neat things is, you know, with us, everybody starts at the same spot and they deserve it just as anybody else," says McKinney.

"Within the school system, we're with them eight hours a day, but it's nice to have that additional support that the national guard provides as far as positive role models," says Denise Martz, Ashley Public School counselor.

After dropping off some materials and meeting with a counselor at Ashley Public School, Sgt. McKinney drives about 20 miles to give a presentation to students at Wishek High School.

Wishek has a history of sending students to the guard, something McKinney says he'd like to continue.

"Just help them out, kind of go through the process. Sometimes they take it, sometimes they don't. You know, the ones that do, that makes it worth it," says McKinney.

"It's not like just going out there, and, 'Oh, I'm going to join,' and not know what you're getting in to. You at least have a head start in knowing what's going to happen," says Austin Kauk, student.

After a presentation, and handing out a few freebies, McKinney meets one-on-one with some interested students.

"Every day is different, and I really like that. You never know who you're going to run into," says McKinney.

Then it's back in the car, and back on the road to Bismarck to do it all again on Monday.

McKinney says he originally joined the guard to pay for school, but fell in love with it once he enlisted.

If you'd like more information on how to join, go to nationalguard.com.