The state champion in heavy weight lifting has a new challenge on his hands: full-time recruiter for the Alaska Army National Guard.
The competitive streak that propelled Sgt. Ilalio ``Numi'' Fenumiai through five years of semipro football will be needed in his new job, said Lt. Col. Mike Bridges, head of the Recruiting and Retention Office for the Alaska National Guard.
``Right now, recruiting is a tough business. It is very competitive out there. The national economy is strong, the Alaska job market is strong. There are just a lot of opportunities for young people now,'' Bridges said.
In response to the competitive job market, the National Guard Bureau in Washington, D.C., has given the Alaska Army National Guard the authority to assign two recruiters in rural areas such as Southeast, the Fairbanks area, and the Nome and Bethel regions. Sgt. First Class Russell Beal, the Alaska National Guard's top recruiter last year, will provide guidance and support to the recruiting efforts.
Ilalio, who was raised in American Samoa and spent eight years in the regular army, most recently worked as a security guard for the legislature. His football background includes five years as a linebacker in a semipro Hawaiian league; he also worked as defensive coordinator for the Juneau-Douglas High School football team. Ilalio's new recruiting position in northern Southeast includes Haines, Hoonah, Skagway, Sitka and Juneau.
``It is the perfect job for me,'' Ilalio said. ``It's a lot like coaching. You get to work with kids and you try to point them in the right direction. Most young kids believe in coaches and I like that responsibility.''