HORSEHEADS - Army National Guard Recruiter Robert Gross was recently named the state’s best recruiter.
Gross, who works out of the Horseheads Army National Guard Armory, received a Meritorious Service Medal earlier this year distinguishing himself as the state’s most outstanding recruiter in 2017
“Being a recruiter is definitely a fun job,” Gross said. “I get to give back to young individuals and let them know about jobs and opportunities that they most likely didn’t know about,” Gross said. “I feel like I’m helping out a lot of young individuals.”
Gross, who served in the active Army for nearly five years, said he has worked as a recruiter for the past 10 years.
“The people I recruit are anywhere from 17 to 35 years old,” Gross said. “But most of the people are high school students.”
Gross said a lot of high school students ultimately decide to join the National Guard because it allows them to fulfill the part-time job and at the same time go to college full-time.
“It’s only part-time position, and we will pay 100 percent of their college tuition,” Gross said. “That’s why so many people like our program because they can go to college full-time and only have to work with us the one weekend a month and two weeks a year.”
The Horseheads National Guard is one of the most active unit in the state, Gross said. The 827 engineer company is consistently activated for snow removal, state emergencies and other disasters.
“We have soldiers in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico that are still cleaning up from the disaster,” Gross said. “They volunteer to go down to do this. They weren’t forced to go. They work right here in the Horseheads Armory unless they get activated.”
Gross said the Meritorious Service Medal is one of the highest medals offered to soldiers not in a combat zone.
“Most people who get this award are from the New York City area where there are 12 million people to recruit from,” Gross said. “In this greater area there are 40,000 to 60,000 people. I think it’s really a testament to how patriotic people are in this community to help me be as successful as I am as a recruiter.”