When Richard Salvidar III signed up to join the Marine Corps straight out of high school, the reasoning was twofold.  

"I don't want to sound cliche and say there was that calling to serve, you know, but there really was,” Salvidar said. “I also had a lot of family and friends that were also in the Marine Corps, so they had an influence and an impact on that decision." 

During his time in the service, Salvidar was stationed in San Diego for four years before transferring to Manchester, New Hampshire, where he served as an inspector and instructor. In that capacity, Salvidar was responsible for coordinating a lot of the base’s charitable engagements, such as the Toys for Tots program, as well as participating in color guards at all public affairs events.  

However, Salvidar’s other primary responsibility during that time was a much more somber, yet still important job. 

“One of our primary duties was to not only do the casualty calls, to go meet with families and to let them know that their loved ones had passed away, but we were also in charge of providing military funeral honors for all marine veterans in the New England area," Salvidar said. 

For Salvidar, this role was a difficult yet rewarding one. 

"It helped me grow as a person and helped me understand that the world is a lot bigger outside my own shoes,” Salvidar said. “It taught me teamwork and camaraderie. How you can easily care for someone you've never even met if you're put into a position where you have to work with them and look after one another." 

In addition to helping establish these important personal qualities, Salvidar is grateful for his time in the service for what it has done for his family, his wife Ivanna and his two children, Richard IV and Margarita. 

"It's also created a solid foundation for the rest of my life and for my family,” Salvidar said. “Through the benefits that we get now, just from serving. It has helped me with my life going forward. Right now, I'm actually going to school and I'm using that GI bill that I got from my service. I'm currently in culinary school." 

Funnily enough, this desire to become a chef actually comes from a similar reason for why he joined the military in the first place. 

"It may sound cliché, but again it's always been that calling for the need to serve. Of course, with my country and my nation, but this one is now coming back to the people,” Salvidar said. “I may not be doing anything crazy, military-wise, but just changing the way people eat food and providing that sense of comfort and taste is something that I'm passionate about." 

When asked about some of his favorite dishes to cook, Salvidar did not hesitate. 

"I can make pretty good smothered pork chops, that's probably one of my favorite dishes."