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Madigan soldier wins MEDCOM Career Counselor of the Year two years in a row

Sgt. 1st Class Angie Carper, Madigan Army Medical Center, representing Medical Readiness Command, Pacific won the 2024 MEDCOM Career Counselor of the Year competition Feb. 13-14, 2024 at JBSA, Fort Sam Houston, Texas. Photo Credit: Joseph Kumzak

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JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO, Texas - Sgt. 1st Class Angie Carper, Madigan Army Medical Center, representing Medical Readiness Command, Pacific won the 2024 MEDCOM Career Counselor of the Year. The award was announced in a ceremony Feb. 15, at MEDCOM headquarters on Fort Sam Houston.

Carper, who also won the 2023 competition, will represent MEDCOM at the Secretary of the Army Career Counselor of the Year board in March at the Pentagon.

She said the career counselor competition is an incredible experience, and she encourages other career counselors to compete in competitions to take advantage of the opportunity and further their development as career counselors.

"It's a great opportunity for camaraderie and for us to come together as a career field," Carper said. "You get to talk to other career counselors who you will not otherwise see. We can troubleshoot and get other ideas of how to work situations that we may be struggling with on our own."

Carper said she believes that competitions increase soldiers' confidence in the career counselors because they are pushing themselves to be the best.

"The people in my hospital have more trust in me because I have won these competitions and they trust my judgment," she said.

Sgt. Maj. Yajaira Villarreal, command career counselor for MEDCOM, said these competitions set the competitors apart from their peers and give them exposure to other sergeants major and career counselors throughout the Army.

"The competition allows competitors the opportunity to test their job knowledge and apply for future jobs that enhance their careers," Villarreal said. "It's amazing for their careers because it allows them the opportunity to get exposed to other leaders and be given leadership opportunities to go from a battalion level job to a brigade level job, or an operations job."

Villarreal added, "Career counselors are advisors to commanders, and they directly affect the Army's total end-strength. They are amazing soldiers who work behind the scenes to help soldiers and families."

Staff Sgt. Dwayne Barron, career counselor at Moncrief Army Health Clinic, and representing MRC, East said the competition was both challenging and a great experience.

"It made me think outside of my footprint - thinking Army wide instead of just things that I can make better for my unit, but what can I make better for the Army as a career counselor," Barron said. "It challenges you to increase your job knowledge and challenges you to be one of the best career counselors and be the go-to-person."

He added, "It was a great experience, and I will be back to win next year."

Staff Sgt. Joecellinni Sarfo, career counselor at Evans Army Community Hospital, and representing MRC, West said she learned a lot and can't wait to compete again.

"Put your best foot forward, and if you think it's scary just do it. It takes personal courage to face something like this - especially if it's your first time," Sarfo said. "It's a great experience. You'll definitely learn, and it will help you become a better soldier and better career counselor."

"It made me think about the bigger picture and the bigger Army and how I can better contribute," she said. "These boards are designed to help the retention program - our ideas might become the next policy for the Army retention program."

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