Nation’s Service-Employment-Redevelopment Network Notes His Rise from Poverty to Pinnacle of Military and Diplomatic Service

Irving, TX – Ignacio Salazar, SER National Chief Executive Officer, today issued the following statement in acknowledgment of the passing of General Colin Powell. He was 84. The former U.S. Secretary of State and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff served multiple presidential administrations and made a lasting impact on U.S. foreign policy.

“Our country has lost a modern historical figure whose legacy will endure for generations. His life is an example of service to country through the most challenging times, yet always with uncompromising integrity. General Powell placed himself squarely at the forefront of accountability in every decision he ever made and understood the weightiness of leadership. He was first, foremost, and always a soldier. His character and demeanor reflected that he understood his every action and word would be an inspiration to some and scrutinized by others.

There are many firsts historians will record about General Powell. He was the first Black national security adviser, first African American chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and first Black U.S. secretary of state. However, the other, perhaps lesser-known part of his life is his determination, work ethic, and perseverance lifted him to the summits of power. His path was not carved out or laid out in front of him. Instead, he was the son of immigrants who joined the R.O.T.C. at 21 after growing up in the South Bronx and going to City College of New York. He joined the Army soon after it was desegregated and served two tours in Vietnam. From there, he would go on to a 35-year military career.

This was the cornerstone of every post he accepted and every mission he carried out; he earned distinction through quiet, selfless service. Twice, he was bestowed the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honor for service to our country. May every American salute this loyal soldier as he is laid to rest and remember him for his courage to lead, and in so doing, showing others the way forward.”