Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Former PSU student body president takes next big step in life and joins the Oregon National Guard

He was responsible for starting the Roots Festival at Portland State University. He also served on the Student Fee Committee and won the highly contentious 2007 election for PSU's student body president.

After completing his one-year term as student body president this past June, Rudy Soto surprised his friends and family by announcing the next step in his life wouldn't be pursuing an internship in Washington, D.C., or even just taking a year to finish up the 43 credits he has until graduation. (photo above: Friends and fellow students congratulate Soto following his 2007 election to student body president).

Instead, Soto joined the Oregon Army National Guard.

Moreover, he signed up for combat duty as a field artillery specialist and left for basic training on Sept. 23. He will be there for nine weeks of basic training, and then another eight weeks for job-specialty training.

"The plan is for me to return from basic training, finish my degree and pursue becoming an officer," Soto said in an interview before he left, adding that he has made a six-year commitment to the military. "The choice that I've made is part of fulfilling who I am and what I need to grow."

While Soto said he has been opposed to the Iraq War from the start, it was this historic presidential election that caused him to start thinking about what he wanted to do with his potential.

"I felt like I wanted it to mean something," he said. "I began to realize how much I appreciated the opportunities I had, and the freedoms. I started to think about how much we take for granted."

If Soto isn't careful, with his personal sacrifices and ambitions, he may end up President of the United States someday.

Excerpts of this blog were taken from Owen Smith's article for the Portland State University student publication, The Vanguard.

Tech. Sgt. Nick Choy,
New Media Manager, Oregon National Guard

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