Army General helping young men be the best they can be

Army General helping young men be the best they can be
Brig. Gen. Jason Kelly (back row, third from right), commander for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers South Atlantic Division, poses for a photo after speaking to Boys With A Purpose. Boys With A Purpose is after-school mentoring program and was created to inspire, influence and empower young men to focus on their life's purpose which will help them become productive and effective citizens in the world. Photo credit Dylan Burnell

One Army general, 20 young boys and Vince Lombardi recently spent an afternoon together at the College of Charleston at one of Meminger Elementary’s after-school programs. Brig. Gen. Jason Kelly, the South Atlantic Division commander, met with the students of Boys With A Purpose, a non-profit organization that helps young men learn how to become the best versions of themselves by teaching them life skills. Lombardi was there in spirit as the group watched the famous football coach’s What it takes to be Number One video.

With the boys being very interested in football, Kelly’s former life as a West Point football player and Lombardi’s reputation for success, the afternoon was enjoyed by all, and the students were left with key thoughts on how to prepare for a better tomorrow, a top-line initiative Kelly instills in all USACE projects and programs.

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The students’ eyes widened as Kelly, a Black general — one of only 43 in the U.S. Army— delivered some unexpected words. Kelly first told the boys that there was nothing special about him and that rising to the position of general boils down to hard work and dedication and that they could do anything he could do with the same drive. As the afternoon went on, the students began to believe Kelly’s words and that they were capable of accomplishing whatever their dream was if they followed some basic, but very important life values.

These values consisted of commitment, truth, passion, results, excellence, habits, mental toughness and discipline. These eight values, along with Kelly’s words of wisdom, left them with guiding principles for a life well-lived.

“Staying true to these principles, along with always doing what you say you are going to do, will help you achieve good results while reaching your dreams,” said Kelly.

The boys, ages 6 to 13, quickly understood that people are shaped by their everyday choices.

The day after Kelly’s visit, Boys With A Purpose posted a Facebook video of the students recalling the principals the general left them with, showing us once again why these students continue to inspire us. We look forward to continuing to engage with these students in the future as they give it their all to make sure their tomorrow is better. Lombardi would be proud!