Reserve enlistment becomes infectious

After hearing one recruit’s excitement, another says yes

By Tyler Hemstreet on January 5, 2011

Alexis Feredinos was raised in a household that held great respect for the qualities a career in the military teaches.

His father was born in Greece and served in the military there before coming to the United States.

But that fact alone didn't immediately pave a path for Feredinos to enlist in the Armed Forces after graduating from Lindbergh High School in Renton. As it turns out, a few years later all he needed was a little push.

The 21-year-old Feredinos got that push after one of his father's coworkers, Kyle Wilhelme, mentioned to the elder Feredinos that he was joining the Air Force Reserve and becoming part of the 446th Airlift Wing. Feredinos' father came home from work and told his son of Wilhelme's plan to become a reservist, eventually handing his son a business card with the Air Force Reserve logo emblazoned on it.

Enter Air Force Reserve recruiter Master Sgt. Charles Loftland.

"Any good recruiter gets someone excited about recruiting," Loftland said. "(Kyle) was very motivated. He shared his story. It (then) becomes infectious ... that's kind of how we get our people."

Feredinos liked what he heard from his father, and called Loftland to start the process of becoming a reservist.

"I wanted to be in a place that valued me as a person and valued my potential," Feredinos said. "The thing I took away from talking to Sergeant Loftland is that there is a lot of honor and pride involved in service. My father has been instilling those ideals in me. It got me excited quickly."

Feredinos and Wilhelme were sworn into the 446th AW last week during a ceremony in the wing auditorium. After going through basic training, Wilhelme will join the 36th Aerial Port Squadron as an airman and Feredinos will be the newest edition to the 446th Civil Engineer Squadron.

"Throughout the enlistment process they both really exemplified professionalism and patience," Loftland said. "They're the kind of individuals we want in the Air Force Reserve family."

On the drive home from the ceremony, Feredinos could see the look of joy on his father's face.

"He was very proud ... he teared up a little bit," Feredinos said.

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