On his first assignment as an Army career counselor, Staff Sgt. Danny Parsley knew he’d made the right move.
While stationed at Fort Gordon, Ga., from July2018-May 2019, Parsley met with a Soldier who had been told he was too old to reach the 20-year retirement mark. Challenges abounded as Parsley worked with the Soldier over several months, trying to navigate policies that would grant the Soldier his required years.
But, Parsley refused to give up, as he had once been in this person’s position as he attempted to switch jobs. Parsley joined the Army in 2008 and spent his first 10 years as an infantryman. But, looking for a change, Parsley talked with a career counselor who treated Parsley as a person with valid needs.
Inspired by that experience, Parsley decided to give back what he’d received by helping the Soldier figure out a way to accomplish his goal.
“He was so appreciative that we took care of him,” Parsley said. “We didn’t push him aside.”
The moment still resonates with Parsley, today, and underscores why he wants to change the culture of how career counselors are viewed by others who need help.
“People are not a number,” said Parsley, who has been a career counselor at Belvoir for a year.
With the coronavirus limiting in-person interactions, Parsley relays information to Soldiers primarily through emails and texts. He also has started using social media as another outlet to ensure Soldiers and their families “are as informed as possible to the constant changes within that Army and the retention program.”
Parsley is the principal adviser on all retention matters for Belvoir’s command team and mission partners and serves as the liaison with the Army’s Military District of Washington Retention Office.
Parsley’s faith plays a big part in how he does his job and why he wants to become a child or clinical psychologist, once he retires from the Army.
So does his family situation. Parsley’s 5-year-old son, Noah, has Asperger Syndrome, a developmental disorder for people who struggle with social interaction. Besides Noah, Parsley’s wife, Serena, and their 3-year-old son, Micah, are also facing medical challenges.
“I remember God is in control,” said Parsley. “He has a plan. He gives me the patience to deal with things that take some time.”