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    National award named in honor of former SD Guardsman

    National award named in honor of former SD Guardsman

    Courtesy Photo | National Guard Bureau named a national Recruit Sustainment Program (RSP) quality award...... read more read more



    Story by Staff Sgt. Michael Beck 

    South Dakota National Guard Public Affairs   

    RAPID CITY, S.D. - Every man and woman of the Army National Guard serves for his or her own reason. Some join to serve their country or their state, some to learn trades or to advance their civilian education, and then there are some who dedicate their careers to serving their fellow soldiers.

    Sgt. 1st Class Martin “Marty” Kendrick was one of these individuals, a man who dedicated his life to understanding the individual Soldier and working to enhance programs and processes to better serve those with whom he served. What makes his dedication so unique was described by his co-workers as an “unyielding drive to better the life of Soldiers” who had not even had the opportunity to earn that title, the newest, un-indoctrinated trainees, the men and women in the Recruit Sustainment Program (RSP).

    RSP is the program that assists new recruits on their path to becoming a Soldier; beginning before they make the trek to Basic Combat Training. Kendrick was among the first group who laid the foundation for the RSP program in South Dakota. He dedicated more than six years of his life to ensuring the program ran smoothly so that each recruit would be prepared for their initial entry into the military lifestyle.

    Last year, the National Guard Bureau created a quality award to honor the state’s Recruit Sustainment Program that led the nation in quality control. This award was named the Marty Kendrick Award in honor of the late Martin Kendrick, who spent four years as the state contract supervisor for the RSP for South Dakota.

    Kendrick was diagnosed with cancer in 2008, but he continued his dedicated service to the RSP long after. Marty Kendrick succumbed to cancer at his home in Winner, S.D., on July 22, 2011 – three years after being diagnosed.

    Shortly after Marty’s passing, Mark Thomas, the RSP contractor for eastern South Dakota, contacted the RSP program manager for the Army National Guard, Rowland Ehlert, with the idea of creating an award to be named for the late Kendrick, an award that would immortalize Kendrick’s dedication to the RSP program.

    “(Marty) would come to work in the morning, go get his chemo, then come back to work,” said Thomas.

    Ehlert recognized this dedication in the letters that he received from the South Dakotans who were asking him to name the award for Kendrick.

    “(This) award is a tribute to the passion that Marty displayed for the quality control process… and the RSP Warrior,” said Ehlert.

    In many ways, Sgt. 1st Class Martin Kendrick was a model Soldier. Friends and co-workers described him as being well-versed in regulations, extremely knowledgeable in every functional area that he worked in, dedicated to the job and dedicated to each individual with whom he served, down to the individual recruit in the RSP who may never have met him.

    Kendrick was involved with the RSP program from its inception in April of 2005, beginning in the administrative and instructing arena as a National Guard Soldier and then working as a contractor at the state level managing the program and tracking the program’s successes. He also analyzed and found solutions for the weak points in this relatively new program.

    Martin “Marty” Joseph Kendrick was a career Soldier, enlisting in the United States Army out of high school. He served three years in Germany and one year at Redstone Arsenal, Ala. He came to South Dakota in 1982, and married Debra Bertram, whom he had met while stationed in Alabama, on June 11, 1983. The Kendricks made their home in Winner. Martin Kendrick took a full-time job with the South Dakota Army National Guard in Rapid City. During this time he lived in an apartment during the workweek and travelled home to be with his family on the weekends.

    “(Marty) had an apartment in Rapid (City) and commuted back and forth a lot of weekends,” recalled Diane Rensch, who worked with Marty in the RSP.

    Mark Thomas worked with Marty in recruiting in 2006. He described Marty as having a “flat-out total dedication to taking care of troops, which he displayed by ensuring their paperwork was perfect.”

    Kendrick’s other co-workers in the program echoed the same sentiments.

    “Marty was all about knowing the rules and regulations,” said Sgt. 1st Class Grant Serna, who worked with Marty in the Recruit Sustainment Program. “He knew them inside and out, and always knew where to find the answers to the hard questions.”

    “Marty certainly made an impression upon those he served with,” said Ehlert. “A testament to (Marty’s dedication) is that Marty was the first ever recipient of the National RSP Supervisor of the Year Award.”

    Kendrick was very dedicated to the RSP, and his dedication showed in many ways. He often worked long hours, going far beyond expectations in order to ensure that the job was done right.

    “He was very dedicated, always there when I came in for the morning, and always there until who-knows-when in the evening, long after the rest of the office had gone home,” said Rensch of Marty’s dedication to the job.

    The first Marty Kendrick Recruit Sustainment Program National Quality Control Award was presented in December of 2011 to the Hawaii Army National Guard RSP. The bottom of the perpetual award reads: “For outstanding dedication and commitment to excellence on behalf of the RSP warrior,” an ideal that Martin J. Kendrick displayed every day of his career, encouraged others to take up and continues to inspire current RSP cadre to uphold.



    Date Taken: 08.06.2013
    Date Posted: 08.07.2013 12:29
    Story ID: 111502
    Location: RAPID CITY, SD, US 
    Hometown: WINNER, SD, US

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