Photo Information

Marine Staff Sgt. Christopher Kelley poses with his family on June 1, 2020, after being promoted to his current rank. Kelley, 27, from Montgomery, Alabama, currently serves the local Myrtle Beach community as a canvassing recruiter. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Joseph Jacob)

Photo by Sgt. Joseph Jacob

Native helps give back to local community as Marine recruiter

17 Jul 2020 | Sgt. Joseph Jacob 6th Marine Corps District

MONTGOMERY, Ala . -- Staff Sgt. Christopher Kelley strives to give back to the community in the same way that the Marines have helped him.Staff Sgt. Christopher Kelley strives to give back to the community in the same way that the Marines have helped him.

Kelley, a network chief by military occupational specialty, is now serving as a canvassing recruiter at Recruiting Substation Myrtle Beach. As a canvassing recruiter, Kelley trains and mentors young men and women in the Myrtle Beach area as they prepare to earn the title of U.S. Marine. Kelley, a Montgomery native, strives to pass along the same opportunities that he has received to the local community.

“I feel absolutely blessed with my career in the Marines, and it has really changed my life,” explains the 27-year-old. “After high school, I found myself going down a dark road, but all that changed when I met my recruiter and now I want to do the same for other kids.”

Kelley often speaks to students who need help finding a future career path. He says the most rewarding part of being a recruiter is when he can he help turn their lives around. Today, one of those students, a young man who told Kelley he would never be able to leave his hometown due to poverty, is now stationed in Okinawa, Japan, where he serves as a network administrator.

“We tell the poolees all the time that they can’t give up on their goals, and they should always keep pushing,” said Kelley. “And as their recruiters, it is our role to demonstrate that by never giving up on them and to be constantly pushing ourselves forward.”

Nine years after Kelley entered the Marines, he keeps his recruiter’s business card in his wallet. He says that he still occasionally reaches out to his recruiter, Sgt. Price, for guidance and advice.

“This can be a difficult duty at times," said Kelley. "Bad days and even bad months are just going to happen, but it’s nice knowing I can always call Sgt. Price when I’m at a loss. I have always had good Marine mentors throughout the years, and that strong community is one thing that I think makes us unique.”

6th Marine Corps District