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New recruiter working for Guard

There’s a new face floating around Covington County and if you are between the ages of 17 and 35, you may want to hear what he has to say.

Donald Cuchens is the new recruiter for the Alabama National Guard in Covington County, and he says he’s enjoying getting to know the residents, while also explaining how they can better their community.

Cuchens

Cuchens

“I’ve been here about two months,” Cuchens said. “I live in DeFuniak Springs, Fla., but Covington County is kind of like a second home to me.”

Cuchens said he spends most of his time between his office in Florala with the Alpha Troop 131 Calvary Scouts and the Alabama National Guard Armory in Andalusia, but will also be spreading throughout other parts of the county as the new school year gets under way in a few weeks.

“I do a little bit of everything,” Cuchens said. “I spend time in schools. I oversee the ASVAB (Armored Services Vocational Aptitude Battery) test. I also do presentations for the kids and I was just over at the Covington Sportsman’s Expo with a big booth.”

Cuchens, who spent 12 years in the United States Marine Corps and served in both Operation Desert Storm and Operation Enduring Freedom, said the National Guard can offer an alternative for people not ready to serve full time, but wanting to help their community.

“The best thing about being a recruiter for the Guard is we’re state-based,” he said. “That’s our primary mission: hurricanes; tornados; emergencies in the state; and we also are back-filled for the Army.”

As for who can enlist, Cuchens said there are parameters.

“You have to be between 17 and 35, unless you have been in the military before,” he said. “But, we can enlist high school juniors and seniors in school and can enlist them in drills right away and they get paid.”

Cuchens said the Guard requires one weekend a month and two weeks during the summer, but also requires the same basic training and advanced individual training as the U.S. Army.

“The basic training is exactly the same,” he said. “The advanced training is where they teach you your job.”

Cuchens said he has been a member of the Guard for two years, adding recruiting combines his love of service with his love of teaching children.

“A year and a half ago I was teaching English in Walton County (Fla.),” he said. “It was a one-year temp teaching positing and when they came back, it just so happened that a recruiting job opened up.”

And in just under a summer’s time, Cuchens said he has decided he made the right choice in coming to Covington County.

“I love it,” he said. “It’s probably one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.”

Cuchens is also a 2011 graduate of Northwest Florida State College, where he graduated cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in project management with a specialty in government acquisitions and a minor in English and English education.

Cuchens and his wife Alycia, have three children, Cory, Holli and Nikki, and one granddaughter, “Peanut.”

To reach Cuchens, call 334-796-6825.