ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — Serving in the military is not limited to active duty or the reserves.
National Guard service members play a big role as they are called on to help with federal and state missions. But over the past few years … enlistment numbers have fallen.

For Virginia Army National Guard Sergeant Dylan Osborne, putting on the uniform means everything to him.

“Throughout high school, this was the goal. My great-grandfather was a World War II veteran, my grandfather was in Vietnam, my father served in the Navy. It was the thing to do when I was in high school. When I joined at 19, I went to basic training and ever since then it helped me get to where in went,” said Osborne.

That path included being a Salem Police Officer. Now he is doing his part to serve by being a Virginia Army National Guard recruiter. Over the past few years, the struggle has been real to get more enlistees. This year is a little bit better as nationwide the Army National Guard is 95% toward the recruiting goal for the fiscal year.

“Not really looking in the past a what the issues were and changing the future. Our goal is to obviously to put in as many people in the military as we can and to explain to get them on where they want to go. We might not be the full answer but we are the tool to get them the full answer,” said Osborne.

The benefits of joining include a signing bonus and money for college. At the end of the day, Osborne and his fellow recruiters want to assist any potential enlistee.

“A lot of recruiters catch a bad wrap. Just because of something bad happening in their career. We are here to help. I want to see everyone succeed. Whether it is with the military or not. The goal is to get them the information and show them we are here to help,” said Osborne.

The Virginia Army National Guard is holding a grand opening ceremony on Saturday, August 12, 2023. From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 5338 Peter’s Creek Road in Roanoke, there will be food, and an obstacle course for the kids as well as back-to-school supplies.