Yeoman 2nd Class Scott Senter, a native of Flint, Mich., has moved across the country, across career fields and back and forth from military to civilian life. But his latest move from the Navy Reserve to becoming a canvasser recruiter (CANREC) has enabled him to make a change that brought deep satisfaction by helping others find their way back to the military in the same way that he once did.


"Recently, I was able to help put in a local Sheriff's deputy, who was former Air Force, and it was a great joy to help him," Senter said. "He had been forced, due to the tragic loss of his family, to leave the military years ago. But using the Direct Procurement Enlistment Program (DPEP), we were able to put him back in the service. To be able to put him back in made all the extra time in this job worth it."


Senter himself found a path back into the military using the same DPEP option, which enables entry into the reserve force for those possessing critical skills that have been acquired through military and civilian employment. Senter had both. In fact, after he spent four years serving with the Air Force as a civil engineer and completing projects in Guam and California, he went back to civilian life and spent 18 years in the construction industry. Eventually he became a project manager for developments across middle Tennessee that sometimes exceeded $100 million. But he always missed the camaraderie of the military and in 2012, he joined the Navy Reserves. He was 39 years old.


“I went to every branch and they all kept telling me that I was too old. Then I stopped in the Navy recruiting office in Murfreesboro, Tenn., and they asked me if I had considered the reserves. Since I was so involved in office work and management, they were able to get me in as a Yeoman,” he said.


However, with his construction background, he could have just as easily become a Seabee. This fact was seen by those he served with in the reserves and they found a way to utilize his unique skills. The ability to work across rates and not become pigeonholed by position is one of the things Senter enjoys most about the Navy, particularly now that he has switched job descriptions when he became a recruiter for Navy Recruiting District Nashville.


"There is so much lateral movement within the reserves. They didn't look at me and box me in just because I was a Yeoman. Because of my construction background, I was asked to go help out on a firehouse construction project in Chesapeake, Va. First time out, I was able to do some work and the Chiefs tested out my knowledge. Second time, they made me assistant officer in charge. And the third time, I completed the project and turned the keys over to the firehouse. That was normally a Senior Chief or Master Chief position that I was able to do as a YN2. I like being able to help out on a project like that and it submerged me into the Navy way of life. And now, I'm a recruiter," he said.


This new position has brought challenges that Senter didn't expect but it's also enabled him to fulfill a goal that he had since he first joined the Air Force long ago.


"I had a really good recruiter in the Air Force who shot me straight and told me what I needed to know. And I always said that if I could become a recruiter I want to be just like him. I want to be honest with people and guide them to the Navy. I always wanted to be a recruiter and didn't know that I could be. But when the opportunity popped open, I took it."


Since he returned to the military after a lengthy gap, he is often older than his peers but he finds it to be asset to his position.


"I believe that age and experience produce wisdom. If you haven't done something already, you may not know how to act or prepare for the situation that is coming. I've had my butt kicked in the civilian world. When we sell the reserves and say to people, "I think you really need this and you would be a great candidate for it,' it's because I know what it's like out there. There are many benefits to having a little extra money coming in and not completely severing ties with the military. I enjoy being able to relate to people who have gotten out of the military and want to get back in because I can help them. And that is a good feeling," he said.


Navy Recruiting District Nashville is responsible for recruiting efforts throughout more than 100,000 square miles of the states of Tennessee, Arkansas, Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Kentucky and Virginia.


For more information on NRD Nashville, visit us at http://www.cnrc.navy.mil/nashville/ or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/NRD.Nashville


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Updated March 1, 2017 (kbh)