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    Maryland Recruiter Redefines Being a Single Military Mother

    Spotlighting a Navy Recruiter, NC1 Belia Castellon

    Photo By Petty Officer 1st Class Diana Quinlan | 210414-N-WF272-1005 FREDERICK, Md. (April 14, 2021) Navy Counselor 1st Class Belia...... read more read more

    FREDERICK, MD, UNITED STATES

    05.07.2021

    Story by Petty Officer 1st Class Diana Quinlan  

    Navy Recruiting Command

    FREDERICK, Md. – Motherhood is a challenging and rewarding journey that for many women offers a renewed sense of purpose. Navy Counselor 1st Class Belia Castellon’s journey as a young single mother inspired the daughter of Honduras natives to pursue a good life for her and her son.

    Castellon was born in Silver Spring, Maryland, raised in Puerto Cortes, Honduras with her 12 siblings, and eventually returned to the U.S. at 13 to receive an education. By the time she graduated high school at 17, she was pregnant with her son. By the age of 19, she was bouncing between jobs with a one-year-old son, and looking for a way to give her son a better life.

    “I needed a foundation because I didn’t really have one,” said Castellon. “There was nothing secure.”

    That’s when she discovered that the U.S. Navy could be an excellent career option for her. So she went to the Navy recruiting station in Frederick, Maryland determined to join. She would be the first and only person in her large family to serve in the U.S. military.

    “The Navy became the backbone of where I was actually able to build a life for myself and my son,” said Castellon.

    Today, she serves at that same recruiting station as a leading petty officer. As a mentor with experience of the hardships and stigma of being a single mom, she not only takes care of her family by also of her Sailors and future Sailors.

    “I’ve overcome the stigma of being a single mom,” said Castellon. “Being a single mom does not define you as a person. If you want to make things happen, you’re going to have to make it happen. You have to believe in yourself and you’ve got to work for it.”

    Castellon’s Navy Boot Camp training took much longer than expected due to an injury and recovery. But she received the support she needed from the Navy while being apart from her young son for so long.

    “It was hard, but it was a setback that made me only more determined to succeed in what I had started,” explained Castellon. “Leaving my son for basic training for just two months was hard enough, and not being with him for longer than expected was a tremendous sacrifice on both of our parts, but my son has been my biggest motivator to never give up. Each day I look at him, and he's the one who gives me the strength to actually be better every day. I owe it all to him.”

    After graduating boot camp, Castellon began her adventure-filled service as a Reservist Builder (BU). She started out at Naval Mobile Construction Batallion 27 in Gulfport, Mississippi, and was later attached to Beachmaster Unit Two in Little Creek, Virginia, supporting NATO operations and undergoing deployments aboard multiple ships.

    Though she enjoyed being a Reservist, she loved the Navy life and committed to active-duty service. Castellon returned to her recruiting station in Frederick, but this time looking for a job in recruiting.

    “I remember I came into the office in Frederick, and I asked if they had any recruiting spots available,” said Castellon. “I spoke with NCC (Chief Navy Counselor) Weaver, and she was the one who gave me the interview and told me there was an opening in Frederick. Being a single mom, this was a great opportunity because I knew I was going to be able to stay home. It would be a whole new experience if I decided to go full-time active duty, so I said to myself, ‘You know what, I'm going to start here. First, to get my foot into the active-duty component as a single mom then to figure out if this is my calling.’ Three years later, here I am - a Navy Counselor.”

    At the time of her conversion to Navy Counselor, Castellon was the only Full Time Support Sailor in the entire Nation to be selected for the rate.

    “I came into recruiting because for me, it was a great opportunity to be able to stay in my hometown and share all the experiences I had to be able to help out the kids here,” Castellon said. “I wanted to give them the opportunity that the Navy has given me. Especially as a single mom, I've always had the support from the military, because that's one of the most important things that they do - they support you, your family and everyone around. It's nice to be able to talk about that with the applicants who come in and the people who come in to get information about all the benefits that the Navy offers.”

    From winning recruiting awards to being selected for Junior Sailor of the Quarter multiple times, Castellon maintains a high standard for her professional life. As busy as her work and family keeps her, she found time to be involved with the Junior Sailor Association (JSA), being voted as JSA vice president and later as president. She also took on the role of Command Fitness Leader and is an active member of the First Class Petty Officer Association. Castellon also makes time to participate in different volunteer events in the community while being a full-time mom and attending college for a degree in engineering.

    “The one thing I tell everybody is if you work hard, it’s going to pay off,” shared Castellon. “We get all kinds of people coming in to try getting into the Navy, and you have those cases that are really difficult, but when you see them actually making it through, it's such a great feeling. You look at them, and they tell you, ‘I'm going to lose my home, I'm going to be homeless … I need this!’ I’ve been there, and it is my biggest joy when these young people actually make it through. They look at you and they tell you, ‘thank you for helping me!’ That's definitely one of the biggest accomplishments, and that’s what makes me love my job: getting to help others.”

    Though she has helped many people in their decision to join the Navy, Castellon’s very first recruit is still one of her best memories.

    “I will always remember my first contract,” said Castellon. “The kid lost 60 pounds to be able to join! The day he went to MEPS (Military Entrance Processing Station), he raised his right hand, and you could tell his shirt was three times the size that he was. He was so happy! He sent me his graduation picture in his whites (Navy Dress White uniform). He was like, ‘I made it!’ To see that he was so motivated to actually get in and to lose 60 pounds was so inspiring!.”

    Bringing her career full-circle, she now serves as a leading petty officer in the same recruiting station that she joined out of. As a mentor with experience of the hardships and stigma of being a single mom, she not only takes care of her family but also of her Sailors and Future Sailors. Even now, in all of her accomplishments, Castellon has attributes her success to one thing that keeps her going: her son.

    “Sometimes we have to make sacrifices, and those sacrifices do pay off,” said Castellon. “I'm not going to let anything stop me from achieving my goals, but what is important is that my son is happy and that he understands the lifestyle because he's grown into it. He's my biggest supporter, and he always tells me, ‘Go mom! I love you. Thank you for all you do!’ He's my biggest motivator, so I will always say to not let your past define you. You just have to go and get it.”

    NTAG Philadelphia encompasses regions of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and West Virginia, providing recruiting services from more than 30 talent acquisition sites.

    Navy Recruiting Command consists of a command headquarters, three Navy Recruiting Regions, and 26 NTAGs that serve more than 1,000 recruiting stations across the world. Their combined goal is to attract the highest quality candidates to assure the ongoing success of America’s Navy.

    For more news from Commander, Navy Recruiting Command, go to http://www.cnrc.navy.mil. Follow Navy Recruiting on Facebook (www.facebook.com/MyNAVYHR), Twitter (@USNRecruiter) and Instagram (@USNRecruiter).

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 05.07.2021
    Date Posted: 05.09.2021 17:52
    Story ID: 395979
    Location: FREDERICK, MD, US 

    Web Views: 856
    Downloads: 0

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