By NORMAN JOHNSON
83rd ARRTC PAO
When you talk to Master Sgt. J. Brant Kirk, you are struck by the passion he has for what he does. Kirk is an Army Reserve career counselor and he has a passion for helping good Soldiers stay in the Army. He also has a passion for teaching career counselors how to do their jobs and take care of Soldiers. He currently teaches Career Counseling and Senior Leader Course at the 83rd USARRTC at Fort Knox and was just selected TRADOC 2013 Instructor of the Year in the Reserve category.
“I can’t improve the entire Army, but I can make a difference in my lane,” Kirk said.
He tries to teach his students how important it is to care about Soldiers.
“Career Counselors are often all that stands between a good Soldier staying or leaving the Army. Many Soldiers become frustrated with the system because they can’t get answers from administrative people in their units.”
When asked what motivated him to compete for Instructor of the Year, Kirk explained his interest was sparked because Mike Gibson competed for IOY in 2012, and ultimately won. Gibson had been Kirk’s Advanced Noncommissioned Officer Course instructor before retiring and returning to the ARRTC as a civil servant. Kirk was unable to compete last year because of a term of assignment requirement so he set his sights on 2013.
“I like to put my best foot forward and challenge myself,” Kirk said.”As I watched how things unraveled last year, I decided I wanted to put forth the effort. I’ve always been a competitor and the last several events I’ve completed in, I was runner up. I decided I wanted to break that mold and beat that runner-up stigma that I’ve had for years. Even when I competed for Secretary of the Army, Army Reserve Career Counselor of the Year, I was runner up. I wanted to win this.”
Debra Young, chief of staff in faculty development division and a member of the IOY selection committee, said, “His exemplary professional conduct and outstanding instructional performance during the presentation submitted as part of the Instructor of the Year nomination packet were major factors in his selection. His dedication to provide the best learning environment for his students was evident during his presentation.”
Kirk said he has the best job in the Army and hopes his passion for career counseling will inspire other career counselors.
“Those who enjoy and love what they do don’t work a day in their lives,” said Kirk. “Those who struggle will find any excuse. Those who love
what they do don’t have trouble staying busy. They find the issues in their
units that cause Soldiers to get out.”
The 2013 awards will be presented at Fort Eustis, Va. May 30.