Senior Spotlight: Francisco Garcia Reyes ’20 Born to Protect Communities and the Nation

Senior Spotlight: Francisco Garcia Reyes ’20 Born to Protect Communities and the Nation

Senior Spotlight: Francisco Garcia Reyes ’20 Born to Protect Communities and the Nation

Francisco Garcia Reyes ’20 was on active duty, stationed overseas with the U.S. Marines, when he began the college search process in hopes of one day earning his degree. He wanted to find a school that would provide him with the support he needed as a student veteran and the education he needed to become a law enforcement officer. “John Jay was the answer. It came highly recommended to me by friends who were alumni,” says Garcia Reyes, the current President of the John Jay Veterans Association. “And when I learned it was one of the best colleges for veterans, the choice was easy.” Now that Garcia Reyes has earned his bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice Management, he's in Florida training to become a Deputy Sheriff. “Being at John Jay changed my life in so many ways. The College and the Office of Military and Veteran Services gave me the skills, connections, and resources to make a smooth transition to the next stage of my life.”

“Being at John Jay changed my life in so many ways. The College and the Military Veteran Services gave me the skills, connections, and the resources to make a smooth transition to the next stage of my life.” —Francisco Garcia Reyes

Joining the Marines
Growing up in tough neighborhoods in both Puerto Rico and New York City, Garcia Reyes’s life could’ve gone completely different. But he credits his family’s unending support with keeping him in line, focused, and out of trouble. “I always managed to do the right thing and not go down the wrong path,” he says, “and that’s really a result of my family believing in me.” He also makes special note of his mom’s resiliency in the face of adversity and how it inspired him to always try his best. “My dad died in a car accident before I was born, so my mom was a single mom, raising me and my brother. She worked so hard and sacrificed so much for us, working countless hours for years to make sure we had food on the table, clothes to wear, and a roof over our head,” say Garcia Reyes.

As he was completing high school, Garcia Reyes found himself craving a new challenge and a change of scenery. “I wanted to go where I could evolve into a better person, so I joined the Marines,” he says. While on active duty with the Marines, Garcia-Reyes had a remarkable career. He was deployed to Afghanistan twice and then served in the prestigious Marine Security Guard Force in the U.S. Embassies in France, Mauritania, and Russia. “The Marines provided me with a unique opportunity to not only get away from those bad neighborhood influences, but to also become a more responsible man,” says Garcia Reyes, “a man ready to give back to his nation and his community.”

Francisco Garcia Reyes
Garcia Reyes

“My time at John Jay and with the Office of Military and Veteran Services provided me with a memorable experience and a constant reminder that, after the military, there are many ways to continue to serve your community and your country.” —Francisco Garcia Reyes

Becoming a Bloodhound
When he first arrived at John Jay, Garcia Reyes did his best to navigate his way through the campus, asking peers for directions to classrooms and getting their opinion on what student activities he should join. But when he found the Office of Military and Veteran Services, it felt like he had arrived home. “Meeting Richard Pusateri, Military and Veteran Services Manager, and getting involved with the Military and Veteran Services office and the student-led John Jay Veterans Association made my experience so fulfilling at John Jay,” says Garcia Reyes. “They provide constant support, specifically tailored for student veterans to help them throughout their John Jay journey.” One of his most memorable moments on campus with his fellow student veterans happened this past Thanksgiving. “We hosted a Thanksgiving potluck and all the students involved formed a big circle, we held hands, prayed, and had a moment of silence for troops that have been lost and those overseas who didn’t have the opportunity to spend the holidays with their families.”

As he embarks on his new life as a Deputy Sheriff, Garcia Reyes can’t help but look back on his College journey and smile. “Being at John Jay shaped me as a person. The staff pushed me to always try my best and keep going, especially the John Jay Veteran’s center,” he says. “My time at John Jay and with the Office of Military and Veteran Services provided me with a memorable experience and a constant reminder that, after the military, there are many ways to continue to serve your community and your country.”