Kenny Rivera, Navy, 1981-2008

RAS Supervisor, New York, New York

Why I chose to serve

As a ten-year-old child I served in the Navy Cadets and swore then that once I became of age I would join the Navy. Once I turned 17, I visited a Navy recruiter’s office and a few days later I was sworn into the U.S. Navy Reserves Delayed Entry Program. On January 25, 1982, I departed for Navy boot camp in Naval Station Great Lakes in Illinois, and served for 26 ½ consecutive years.

What being a veteran means to me

Service. The Navy prepared me and gave me the drive for public service. I have served as a volunteer fire fighter, EMT, FEMA disaster inspector, master diver and honorary chairman of the New York State Republican Business Advisory Council.

How my service has affected my life

Honor. Service. Sacrifice. These are values I follow. We are a proud military family which inspired two of my kids to also join the military. They currently serve on active duty with the U.S. Army.

How my service influences my work

My military service has taught me to approach a situation with caution, assess it and act appropriately. If there is something that you can count on it’s change, and you must be able to adapt and overcome. You need to be able to improvise if necessary and strive to be the very best. Your client has a problem, how do we fix it? Teamwork and respect are the cornerstones in what we do.