It's Never Too Late To Change Your Life

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  • 143 AW

At the age of 41, John Hernandez embarked on an unexpected journey that would reshape his life and the lives of his family. Having moved to the United States 19 years ago from the Dominican Republic and settling in Rhode Island for the past 11, his careers have been varied. From an ATM technician to a carpenter, electrician, life insurance agent, solar systems salesman, property manager, caregiver, gig worker, and Notary Public, John had never shied away from learning new skills and embracing new challenges.

His decision to enlist in the Rhode Island Air National Guard was inspired by a constellation of influences, beginning with his wife's willingness to join and the pride they shared in their stepdaughter's service within the same unit. John saw the Air National Guard as a beacon of improvement for his family's future, a testament to resilience, and a meaningful legacy to pass on to his children. The day SSgt Kenneth Diaz visited to discuss his wife's enlistment; John seized the opportunity to ask about his own chances. With an affirmative and supportive response, his military journey began right then and there, marking the start of a significant new chapter in his life.

Despite the unconventional path of joining the military at his age, John faced the enlistment process with determination. The medical exams and the ASVAB test loomed large, challenging his nerves and his readiness. Yet, through focused study and the wealth of experience garnered from his previous careers, he surpassed his own expectations, earning a score that opened doors to the job he desired.

As he prepares for basic training, John’s primary concern is the time away from his family, yet he remains undaunted, focusing on getting into better physical shape. His perspective on service and duty, already deep-rooted in respect and admiration for the Armed Forces, is now embedded with a personal commitment to contribute to a cause greater than himself. Meeting his unit, he was struck by their diversity and expertise, eager to learn from them and share his own skills.

John’s advice to others contemplating military service later in life is reflective of his journey: embrace the challenge if you're up for it and supported by loved ones. His goals within the Air National Guard are clear: to absorb as much knowledge as possible, to expand his skill set, and to make a positive impact on both the mission and his fellow service members.

Reflecting on his path to the Air National Guard, John wouldn't change a thing. Each step, each job, each challenge faced had led him to this moment, equipping him with the skills and determination needed to succeed in this new role. As he looks to the future, he sees his military service as a pivotal moment for personal and professional growth, a means to secure his family's future, and an opportunity to engage deeply with work that has always fascinated him.

This is more than just a story of enlisting in the military; it's a narrative about courage, change, and the pursuit of personal growth at any stage of life. John’s journey into the Rhode Island Air National Guard at 41 is a testament to the belief that it's never too late to embrace a new path or to make a difference, both in one's life and in the lives of others.