Naval Air Station Whidbey Island has named its Petty Officer First Class Sailor of the Year for 2017.
Rodney B. Scheppler, a Navy career counselor, was announced as the top petty officer first class for the base.
Command Master Chief Shane Cardon said the award is recognition for not only what Scheppler does at the base, but also his work in the community.
As a career counselor, Scheppler provides information to sailors that is intended to help them make their best career decisions, said Cardon.
In his position, Scheppler won the Retention Excellence Award three times in a row. He also helps individuals who wish to separate from the Navy and transition back to civilian life.
Scheppler, stationed at NAS Whidbey for just over three years, serves as president of the First Class Petty Officer Association.
“I like helping sailors,” he said. He enjoys helping young sailors who don’t know much about the Navy progress and become successful, he said.
In the community, Scheppler serves on the board of the directors of the North Whidbey Soccer Club.
Scheppler said he grew up playing soccer and he wants to be able to share the sport with the Oak Harbor community.
“I love what the game teaches,” he said. “So I love to influence the youth in Oak Harbor here to give them an activity, to show them a great game that I love.”
Every year, chiefs offer their candidates for the award, and the best candidates go forward.
The commanding officer has the final say in who is chosen. Cardon said the award is meant to recognize well-rounded individuals who both excel at their jobs and in community service.
Scheppler said he was surprised to receive the honor, and although hesitant to talk about himself or his accomplishments, he said it was an honor to be recognized.
“It means a lot just to be recognized, even to be nominated for Sailor of the year,” Scheppler said of winning.
“I mean, there’s a bunch of well-deserving people, so even to be nominated with those people is great, and winning it is just a bonus.”