Skip to main content

Joel's Story

Photo of Joel

The phrase “non sibi sed patriae” - not for self, but for country - has accompanied me on my public service journey since I first learned it as a midshipman at the U.S. Naval Academy. My journey started with military service and has continued with civil and volunteer service. Throughout, I have felt fortunate to have been afforded the opportunity to make contributions to the nation and my community. The desire to make such a difference is why I have been drawn to serve as a Selective Service System (SSS) Local Board Member in the District of Columbia. SSS Local Board Members are the community members who would decide on men’s claims of deferments, postponements, and exemptions. Beyond the core SSS national defense mission, as a Local Board Member I am passionate about helping people understand the life and career implications of registration. Men who fail to register stand to permanently lose benefits such as student aid and government employment. This is a challenge in DC, which has the nation’s lowest registration rate and an accompanying loss in federal benefits to its men. In order to address this, I spearhead efforts to raise registration awareness with DC’s elected and appointed leaders, agencies, and school systems. I have testified in hearings, led presentations, met with officials, and distributed registration awareness materials. This brings me back to where I started on my public service journey. “Non sibi sed patriae” awoke within me a heightened desire for a lifetime of service. Serving as an SSS Local Board Member in DC has been an exciting way to join with others to make a difference.