Duane Curato has served his country for the U.S. Navy in a variety of aspects.
He served in Operation Iraqi Freedom where he was responsible for counter terrorism measures in the Gulf of Somalia and the Persian Gulf.
The Otay Ranch sailor also participated in a goodwill mission to Australia, and currently volunteers with the United Service Organizations Council of San Diego where he cooks and serves meals to military families.
However, it is his service in bringing young men and women into the U.S. Navy that he is honored for.
The 10-year serviceman was bestowed the Navy’s 2012 Recruiter of the Year.
Curato said he didn’t know how great an honor it was to be named the Recruiter of the Year, until he saw how important the achievement was to other Navy officials.
“At first it didn’t sink in until I went to D.C. when all the higher ranking Navy officials were there praising me and saying how proud they were of me,” Curato said.
Curato said his experience going through the recruiting process as a 17-year-old and the ability to build long-standing relationships with his recruits is the secret to his recruiting success.
To be Recruiter of the Year, the Navy looks at a variety of factors including how many recruits are brought in, how well a recruiter does on command, and how much time is put into recruiting, Curato said.
He said most new recruits come to him by word of mouth. He would recruit someone and guide them not just in the recruiting process but also throughout their Navy life, he said.
Curato said most recruits appreciate that and spread the word about him as a recruiter.
“I explain to them (recruits) the benefits of joining the Navy,” he said. “I also mentor them through life.”
Curato, a Gas Turbine Systems Technician, Mechanic First Class, said he migrated to America with his family from the Philippines when he was 16. When he turned 17, and with his parents’ consent, he joined the Navy.
Now at 28, Curato said he plans to enjoy retirement life when he fulfills his 20-years of service. He has 10 more years to go.
Currently, he said he is taking advantage of going to school for free, which is one of the many benefits of the Navy, he said, as he is working on obtaining an associate’s degree in Criminal Justice through the Navy.
During his free time Curato said he likes to spend time with his wife, Hazel.
Correction: An earlier version of this story stated Curato is 27 years old. He is 28.