Scott Ruskan has been around military people his whole life, whether they were in his family or the group of friends he hangs around. He currently studies accounting at Rider University.
“I looked into serving when I was in high school, but I had the opportunity to run in college,” he said.
Ruskan decided to run on a Division I track team at Rider. The 21-year-old from Oxford, N.J. said it’s been the best four years of his life. But now that it’s nearing the end, he had a choice. Either enter the field of accounting – or serve the country. He chose the latter.
“I’ve had an internship. I have a second one coming up with KPMG this summer and I really like it,” he said. “But I knew that going forward, I would regret not joining the military in some way, shape or form.”
Ruskan enlisted in the U.S. Coast Guard and held his enlistment ceremony Tuesday on Rider’s campus in Lawrenceville, N.J. His decision to join them was about a year in the making and began when he reached out to the school’s veterans affairs coordinator, Tom Reddington.
“[Reddington] was able to put me in contact with the right people, one of them being Command Master Chief Mike Rosati, who’s actually a professor at Rider,” Ruskan said. Like Ruskan, Rosati was a student athlete at Rider on the wrestling team.
After a tour of the guard’s air station in Atlantic City, being connected to a recruiter and signing the paperwork, Ruskan was able to get sworn in. He said it was Rosati that suggested having the ceremony done on Rider’s campus, which he “thought was really cool.”
“He said he was going to be able to be there, which meant a lot to me because he was the one who kind of helped me out, get my foot in the door with the right people,” Ruskan added.
When Ruskan was deciding on which branch of the military to join, the job of being a rescue swimmer with the Coast Guard appealed to him. He considered the Navy, but chose the Coast Guard believing that they do more missions. He also said the environment was awesome to him, especially as a summer lifeguard at Hopatcong State Park.
After his internship with KPMG, Ruskan will ship out in Sept. 2021 for basic training in Cape May. He will serve four years before deciding whether to continue serving or begin his accounting career.
“We’ll see where it ends up taking me,” he said. “If I wanna maybe serve another four after the first four, that’s fine with me; I’m totally for it. And if I decide maybe not, I’m glad I did my time.”
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