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Face of Defense: Hard Work Pays Off for New York Native

By Marine Corps Pfc. Franklin E. Mercado
2nd Marine Logistics Group

CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C., March 1, 2012 – People join the military for an array of reasons, such as the noble cause of serving and protecting their country, or perhaps for more personal reasons.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Kenny Jeanfelix poses for a photo at Camp Lejeune, N.C., Feb. 23, 2012. The Brooklyn, N.Y., native was nominated for a meritorious promotion. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Pfc. Franklin E. Mercado

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

For Lance Cpl. Kenny Jeanfelix, a legal service specialist with Combat Logistics Regiment 27, 2nd Marine Logistics Group, a person who was closest to him influenced his decision to join the Marine Corps.

The Brooklyn, N.Y., native took on many responsibilities as he transitioned from adolescence to manhood.

One of nine siblings, Jeanfelix attended college classes and worked as an assistant teacher for a local school while caring for his mother.

“I was studying to become a teacher, but we fell into some rough times, so I decided to go a different route,” he said. “I told my mom I would either join the military or become a police officer.”

Jeanfelix’s mother, Martine Jeudy, encouraged him to join the military and serve his country.

“My mom was the main person who pushed me to join the [Marines Corps],” Jeanfelix explained. “She said … it was more of a challenge, and more rewarding.”

Jeanfelix enlisted Dec. 13, 2009. Though he is a legal service specialist now, that wasn’t the path he chose when he joined.

“I enlisted as an infantryman,” he said. “While I was training at [Infantry Training Battalion, School of Infantry East, Camp Geiger, N.C.], I injured my foot and couldn’t continue with training.” His high aptitude test score opened up a variety of alternatives. “They gave me legal services as a choice,” he said, “and I took it.”

The choice wasn’t difficult, he added, because he saw the possibility of using the training and experience he’d gain to get a civilian job after his enlistment. After a year of training, Jeanfelix joined his unit in December 2010.

His efforts on the job have paid off with a nomination for meritorious promotion to corporal.

“I was shocked in a good way,” Jeanfelix said. “I didn’t know until right before it was happening that I was even put on the board.”

Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Tony Holmes, the military justice staff noncommissioned officer in charge, said he believes Jeanfelix has what it takes to become a noncommissioned officer.

“[Jeanfelix] leads by example,” Holmes said. “Junior Marines are inspired by his actions because of his leadership, abilities and traits.”

Jeanfelix lets his actions speak for themselves, the staff sergeant added, which he said inspires his fellow Marines. But Jeanfelix said he doesn’t do anything out of the ordinary to stand out -- he just takes care of business.

“I like working out, staying in shape, and I get my job done,” he said. “Those are normal things every Marine should do.”

Working hard has been the key to success for Jeanfelix, but he enjoys his off-duty time.

“I don’t do much,” he said. “I’m pretty low-key, I just like playing my guitar and going to the gym.”

Though he doesn’t know lies ahead, Jeanfelix said, the next chapter should be as good as the last as long as he keeps up the hard work and continues to push to be better than yesterday.


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