I met Jason Noval when I was in high school. He worked at the accessories counter at my favorite music store, and we became good friends and stayed in touch over the years. In May 2013, Jason enlisted in the United States Army to fulfill his desire to become a soldier and to serve his country. What might be unusual about this story is that Jason graduated from Basic Training on his 35th birthday!
I told Pete about Jason and what he’d done at his age, and Pete was fascinated. “Nobody does that in their thirties,” said Pete, and then he remarked, “I’ve got to meet this guy. I want to hear his story.” Pete arranged to take Jason out to lunch before he deployed, eager to meet him and to hear why a 35-year-old man would enlist as a Private in the Army.
As I listened to Jason telling Pete his story and why he came to his decision, I learned a few things about my friend that I didn’t know previously. His mother and father are both Air Force veterans, his mother having served at a base in central California, and his father having flown missions as a tanker pilot over Vietnam, and later serving as a peace officer and flying as an airline pilot. Growing up, he’d always had a fascination and a deep admiration for our servicemen and women. As he grew older, he began to feel a calling to serve and to give back to his community that he could not ignore. “I wanted to do something worthwhile, and I know I’ll be able to look back on my service, whenever it’s over, and know that I did some good and helped some people,” he said.
At present, he is on his first deployment overseas at Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany. He is doing well and tells me that he’s happy to be where he is, surrounded by dedicated professionals that share his desire to serve. We should all be so lucky to have someone like Jason in our lives. We’re all very proud of him. God Bless him.