By Donna Parker
Retired U.S. Army Col. Joe Rodriguez Jr., who received a bachelor’s degree in history from Trinity in 1974, has found his true calling as the chief operating officer of Campus Crusade for Christ Military Ministry. For Joe, who spent 30 years as an Army officer, culminating in leadership of the Stryker armored fighting vehicle project, his new position is quite a change.
“I am passionate about Jesus and making Him known to others in the spirit of love and compassion,” says Joe, who runs the ministry’s headquarters and workforce of 400.
“The best part of what I do is leading great young men and women and building their self-confidence and skills to serve both God and fellow man.”
Joe was a ROTC cadet in college and went straight into the military after graduation, serving in Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait, as well as six years in Europe.
“One of my best duty stations was the 82nd Airborne at Ft. Bragg with the Airborne Infantry. Leading highly motivated airborne Soldiers is a real privilege.”
He married his college sweetheart, Elaine Prudden ’75, and they will celebrate their 34th anniversary this year. The couple has two grown children, Stephen and Sarah, and reside in Hampton, Va. Although his job keeps him very busy, Joe loves to take off on his motorcycle for a little long-distance riding. He and Sarah recently took a three-day ride on the Blue Ridge Parkway and will do it again this fall to see the leaves change.
“I’m also working on a cross-country motorcycle adventure with a Trinity friend, Rick Baker ’74, and possibly Gilbert Gonzales’74. We recently reconnected via Facebook.”
“Trinity really was a great place to make lifelong friends, especially in the ROTC program. I met so many wonderful people and also developed as a young leader. Professor of Military Science Major Tony Volponi, department of military science, had an incredible impact on my life, inspiring us all to become better leaders...he was my role model!”
“Rather than doing something strictly for my own gain, I’m helping military families who are paying a heavy price today so that the rest of us may live free. The military brings long separations and hardships and this is my chance to give back.”
You may contact Joe at Joerod777@aol.com.