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    An Airman’s journey from Nicaragua to the 24th World Scout Jamboree

    An Airman’s journey from Nicaragua to the 24th World Scout Jamboree

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Caleb Vance | Master Sgt. Allan Romero, the Airfield Manager for the 167th Operations Group, poses...... read more read more

    WV, UNITED STATES

    07.30.2019

    Story by Senior Airman Caleb Vance 

    West Virginia National Guard

    Master Sgt. Alan Romero is the Airfield Manager for the 167th Airlift Wing in Martinsburg, W.Va, and is serving in the West Virginia National Guard Public Affairs section at the World Scout Jamboree in Glen Jean, W.Va.

    Over a thousand military members, just like Romero, are serving at the WSJ, so what makes his story any different from the rest?

    Romero lived most of his early life in the city of Masaya, Nicaragua. He was an only child, and at the age of seven, his father was killed in action in the 1979 Nicaraguan Civil War.

    At the age of 10, he took up scouting at Troop Nine in San Jeronimo. There, he found a desire to succeed and serve the community. He rose through the ranks quickly, and achieved the rank of Caballero Scout - the equivalent to an American Eagle Scout, at the age of 15. He was also awarded the “Scout Diriangen”, one of the highest awards a scout in Nicaragua could receive.

    In Nicaragua, the scouts of Romero’s time also served in a role similar to first responders and were trained in many different functions. His skills were put to the test on Jan. 10, 1987 when tragedy struck in a small farming area near his hometown.

    A passenger train had derailed, and shortly after a 15 year old Romero was on the scene and was using his skills to assist the local fire department in any way he could.

    In light of his actions, and his prior success as a scout, Romero was selected as the sole scout to represent Nicaragua at the World Scout Jamboree to be held in Sydney, Australia at the end of that year.

    Unfortunately, in spite of his whole trip’s expenses being covered by the Costa Rican and Australian governments and scouting associations, he was denied a transit visa through the U.S. due to political instability in Nicaragua.

    Less than a year later, his visa was approved, but this time it wasn’t a transit visa. Romero’s mother was bringing him to the United States and leaving him with his cousin in Los Angeles to flee the violent struggles happening in Nicaragua at the time. Within two years, he became fully fluent in English.

    Thirteen years later, he was working in Los Angeles, California in Logistics for British Airways when the twin towers were struck on September 11th, 2001.

    “I just wanted to pay back the country that opened its doors when I needed it the most” said Romero. “So on September 27th I raised my right hand and took my oath.”

    At the time of Romero enlisting in the US Marine Corps, he wasn’t even an American citizen. It wasn’t until returning from a deployment overseas that he was officially a United States citizen. On top of that, he was 30 years old and had to go through the process of qualifying for a waiver just to join.

    After completing his four year stint in the Marines, Romero returned to Los Angeles and his job at British Airways, but now he was engaged to his now wife who lived in North Carolina and attended college there.

    His journey to the East Coast started when a position opened at Washington-Dulles Airport, so he took the job to be closer to his then fiancée. Unfortunately, in 2010, his employer converted their logistics to contractors, and Romero became jobless. To make things harder, less than a month later, his twin boys were born.

    After being a stay-at-home dad for eight months, Romero took a job at Fed-Ex to make ends meet. While working there, he decided to stop by a local job fair, and that decision again changed his path.

    He talked to an Air National Guard recruiter that was attending the job fair, and was soon sworn in as an Information Technology Specialist.

    His first time on base, Romero found himself in the 167th Operations Group while looking for the IT shop when the airfield manager approached him and asked if he needed assistance, and by the time Romero left that day a position was later created for him in airfield management.

    Fast forward to the 2019 World Scout Jamboree.

    “This is my Jamboree, it's been 32 years in the making and I’m finally here,” said Romero. “This is also a whole different ballgame, I’m not only part of it, but I get the privilege to also serve, and it’s just amazing!”

    Romero finally got to attend “his” World Scout Jamboree. When his unit asked for volunteers, he did everything he had to do to be able to make it.

    Whether it be chance or fate, Romero’s hard work, dedication and sacrifices have paved the way to him finally being able to attend the World Scout Jamboree.

    Romero continues to support his old troop, which had been on a hiatus for many years until some kids from his childhood neighborhood revived Troop Nine. His support provides them opportunities to become positive influencers in their community, and is vital to continuing the legacy of scouts in the small town of San Jeronimo.

    “Scouting overall, regardless of the country or religion, teaches you morals values, how to treat others and duty to your community,” explained Romero. “If you live your life doing just one good deed per day, the world will become a better place, and scouting gives children the foundation and opportunity to do that.

    “I believe things always happen for a reason, the things you go through in life and the hardships make you who you are,” Romero said.

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 07.30.2019
    Date Posted: 07.30.2019 17:09
    Story ID: 333712
    Location: WV, US

    Podcast Hits: 0

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