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by Liane Nakahara student writer

Hawai‘i Pacific University Military Campus Program student and Machinist’s Mate 2nd Class (SS) Rudy Eddins was eating dinner at home when his supervisor phoned to tell him that he was selected as Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard’s Junior Sailor of the Year for 2006.

“ I didn’t believe him, so he had to go get the command master chief on the phone,” recalled Eddins, the shipyard’s assistant command fitness leader.

“ I was very surprised,” he said. “I didn’t know ahead of time that I was even nominated.”

The Rockwall, Texas, native said he joined the Navy a little over six years ago because he wanted to do something better with his life. Eddins was stationed at the Hawai‘i Shipyard in January 2005.

Eddins, who is a supervisory leadership major, leads the Shipyard’s Fitness Enhancement Program, coordinates nutritional classes, and conducts monthly Physical Readiness Test briefings to newly assigned shipyard sailors. He also supervises rigorous morning and afternon workout sessions Monday through Thursday.

Pedro Valdez, operator of Navy TV2 with Navy Region Hawai‘i Public Affairs, is a regular participant in Eddins’ 5:30 a.m. physical fitness class at Bloch Arena Gym. He said he enjoys the energy that Eddins brings to the workout session.

“ It’s a good way to start the day, and I intend to continue as long as I can bear it and stay in shape,” said Valdez.

About four years ago, Eddins was asking himself if being in the Navy was his best career path. Eddins credits his selection as Junior Sailor of the Year to the influence of his mentor, World War II veteran Jim Vernon Johnson.

Johnson, who was a submarine torpedoman stationed at Pearl Harbor during the Dec. 7 attack, had a lot of stories to share with Eddins.

“ Hearing him talk about his experiences made me feel really proud about being in the Navy,” Eddins said of the man who inspired him to stay in the Navy. “We both are submarine torpedomen and stationed at Pearl Harbor. It is almost like he passed the torch to me.”

In addition to his fitness duties at work, Eddins made sure he gave back to the community. He has volunteered as a security force for the March of Dimes event and assisted in the last chance swim meet hosted by Pearl Harbor Aquatics Swim Club.

Eddins was due to graduate from HPU in May 2007 with an associates degree, and he said he would like to enter an officer training program in the future.

Kalamalama, the HPU Student Newspaper. All rights reserved.

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