SkillsUSA Champions - Summer 2014 : Page 16

READY TO PUT YOUR IN MOTION? Penske – a leader in transportation – invites you to consider a diesel technician position at one of our more than 750 locations across the country. Penske offers competitive wages and a wide range of benefits. Be sure to visit Penske’s outdoor exhibit and speak to one of our representatives to register to win a Snap-on tool box. CAREER Hamblin noticed that both organiza-tions focus on many of the same prin-ciples, including teamwork, hard work equaling success, and always striving for improvement. “Those same principles lead to a success-ful career,” he says. “SkillsUSA has served as a bridge between my two lives.” Photo: Lloyd Wolf From enlisted man to officer Our Services • Truck Rental and Leasing • Truck Maintenance • Logistics We wish you the best of luck competing in Kansas City, and we hope to see you soon! Penske is an Equal Opportunity Employer . In 2013, Hamblin brought his leadership skills to the national stage when he was elected to SkillsUSA’s student leadership team. He’s now serving as the national college/postsecondary parliamentarian. Although he’s the oldest member of the team, Hamblin says he was prepared to work with a group of younger students because of his military training. “When I was a drill instructor, I had to study what methods and techniques motivate the younger generation,” he explains. “Even in the military, it’s impor-tant to know what makes your team work effectively.” One of his most emotional moments as a national officer came in September, during the Washington Leadership Training Institute. Hamblin was one of two SkillsUSA officers selected to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery. “As a veteran, there is no greater honor than to be allowed to honor those brothers and sisters who have fallen paying the ultimate sacrifice,” he says. “To be allowed to pay tribute to that family of mine while wearing the red jacket representing my new family was truly a humbling experience. I felt that I got to actually depict the ‘bridge’ that I had referenced before.” He found the experience to be very emotional for another reason. One of his trainees from the Army had been killed while serving in Iraq. “I felt that I was honoring her and finally getting closure for her,” Hamblin says. He points out that this recruit was just 19, the same age of many of the students he works and learns with every day. “SkillsUSA has allowed me to be a role model for my kids. Work hard, study hard, and no matter what your age, continue to seek self-improvement.” — Tony Hamblin, pictured with his wife, Mechelle, and three of their children When he isn’t busy with school or SkillsUSA, Hamblin likes to spend time with his wife and their four children. After 15 years trying, he and Mechelle weren’t sure they’d ever start a family. Doctors told them they’d never be able to have any biological offspring. The couple still wanted children, so they adopted three Japanese-Filipino siblings while Hamblin was stationed in Hawaii. Four years later, they found out that Mechelle was pregnant, despite the doctors’ predictions. “It’s God’s gift,” Hamblin says, and their oldest son is now a SkillsUSA member in high school. “We are a SkillsUSA family.” Hamblin isn’t finished with school quite yet. After completing his IT systems degree, he began studying business systems. “This will provide me with the business training I need to open my own IT business in our community,” he says. In the meantime, Hamblin has a position with the Tennessee Board of Regents, where he works for the current president of SkillsUSA’s board of direc-tors, James King. “SkillsUSA has allowed me to be a true role model for my kids,” Hamblin reflects. “Work hard, study hard, and no matter what your age, continue to seek self-improvement.” •

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