Courtesy of EWU ROTC
Sgt. 1st Class Jason Hennig, an instructor in EWU’s Reserve Officer Training Corps program, was named Greater Spokane Armed Forces Person of the Year. Hennig was presented the award during the 63rd annual Let Freedom Ring ceremony at the Davenport Hotel in Spokane earlier this month. Hennig, who was also named U.S. Army Cadet Command NCO Instructor of the Year in February 2018, is the first EWU ROTC instructor to receive this honor.
“I definitely think that the Spokane community has a lot of great men and women, and I was just thankful for the opportunity to compete and be able to represent not only the Eastern ROTC program, but also Eastern Washington University,” Hennig said in a phone interview with The Easterner. “To be the winner was outstanding.”
Hennig said that he receives a lot of support from his wife Hayley and that the support helped him become the person that he is today.
“(Hayley) has always been supportive of whatever it is that I do,” Hennig said. “She is incredibly strong and supportive, and she continues to teach me and mentor me to be the best man that I can be. I think by being a good man, it makes me a good leader.”
Hennig said that he looks up to Lt. Col. Jonathan Stafford, chair of EWU’s Military Science Department, as one of the peers who supports and encourages him to do what he wants to do to be successful.
“(Stafford) has allowed me for the last year to be able to operate and change things and do things that I thought were going to be the most beneficial for cadets and the program,” Hennig said. “You don’t always have a boss that allows you to operate how you feel best. Col. Stafford has not micromanaged me one bit. He’s supported the ideas that we have come up with. We’ve been able to knock it out of the park.”
Hennig said that he is proud to win the achievement, but being married to his wife, whom he calls his best friend, and having his children makes him the proudest. He also said that everybody has the ability to be person of the year.
“Just because you don’t go up on a stage and get a plaque, that doesn’t mean you’re not someone’s person of the year,” Hennig said. “Just because you’re not a person of the year or don’t win first place in a race or something like that, it doesn’t mean you’re not someone’s hero. I think our campus community has heroes walking around everywhere. They just need to realize that you’re far better than what you think you are. You’re always going to have someone looking up to you.”
Hennig said that he hopes to take advantage of building from his latest achievement while sharing it with his wife.
“I hope God continues to use me to do good things for what I believe is the most important that this nation has,” Hennig said. “As long as I continue to be a mentor and leader, that’s all that I can really ask for.”