Master Sgt. Claude Campbell briefs a group of RSP Soldiers about the benefits of abstaining from alcohol and drug abuse during their military careers. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Jerry Boffen, JFHQ Public Affairs Office)
In 2009, Master Sgt. Claude Campbell was offered a high salary position with Verizon Wireless in Atlanta, Georgia. He refused this position, however, to become the Connecticut Army National Guard Regional Training Institute prevention coordinator.
Campbell said that he made the right decision. “What’s the point of working, if you are not helping
people,” he said.
For his service as a prevention coordinator, in Nov.
2013, he was presented a National Guard Bureau award for his work.
His title has recently changed to the Connecticut National Guard alcohol and drug control officer. He now works in the Connecticut Guard’s counter drug office, but his work requires the same amount of dedication as before.
“We do our best to provide Soldiers resources to help them with substance abuse behaviors,” he said.
“We never put any one down, or make them feel bad,” Campbell said. “Our job is only to help.”
He attributes much of his success in his job to the acceptance from state commands as well as the autonomy with which he has been allowed to work.
“I’ve heard stories from my colleagues in other states about a lot of push back from their commands,” Campbell said, “but here, everyone has been very receptive and told me to go ahead and do what I need to accomplish my mission.”
Campbell said that he is pleased to receive his award, but said that he takes the most pride in the work that he’s done in helping his fellow Soldiers. He said that he can recall many Soldiers whom his program has assisted, but is especially proud of one in particular.
“This individual initially declined counseling,” he said. “After a while, he finally did commit to counseling and our program. And now he helps us counsel Soldiers, and assists us in RTA training.”
As the state’s alcohol and drug control officer, Campbell wants his office to focus more on substance abuse prevention and being proactive. He said that it’s important for the state’s units to do their best to identify risk factors in Soldiers before they can become problems. “That’s why I brief the RSP (Recruit Sustainment Program) Soldiers,” Campbell said. “They need to know that we care and that we’re here to help, before they join
Going forward, Campbell said it is important to build upon the successes they’ve had already. He said it’s important to not only identify risk factors early, but also to develop plans to reduce those risk factors and to let the Soldiers know where to turn for help.
Campbell plans to finish his second Master’s Degree soon to become a Licensed Professional Clinician, which will allow him to further help his fellow Soldiers.
“I’m glad I decided to stay here instead of continuing at that other job,” Campbell said. “I love what I do. I love helping Soldiers,”
Campbell is easy to find. His name is the first one listed on the Connecticut National Guard’s help card.
He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 860-883-2352.