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1/25/2018 7:38:29 AM
Posted: 12/23/2005 3:45:13 PM EST


Michigan Dad Loses 230 Pounds to Enlist in Army

By Elaine Wilson
Special to AFPS

When a recruiter stopped by to talk to his son, Roderick Evans was the one sold on the military. The Detroit home health care specialist had a passion for helping others and a desire to make a difference.

A military medical career sounded like a perfect fit.

The recruiter, on the other hand, saw a different picture. He took one look at Evans and said, "You're just too big."

At 5 feet, 7 inches and 418 pounds, Evans could hardly disagree.

But instead of easing the rejection with his usual overdose of comfort foods, he went on a weight-loss crusade. Fueled by sheer willpower and a determination to join the military, the 36-year-old finally conquered a lifelong battle with his weight. Three years and 230 pounds lighter, Evans again saw a recruiter. This time, he was met with a much different reception.

"He had me come down to his office for a (fitness) test," said Evans, now 39 years old and a svelte 165 pounds. "I passed with flying colors and signed up for the Reserves on the spot."

As a combat medic student at the Army Medical Department Center and School here, Evans now serves as a motivator for his fellow soldiers, a role he never anticipated when growing up on the streets of Detroit.

"It was rough," Evans said. "You had to either be the big guy so no one messed with you or you had to know how to fight. I was the big guy."

Evans' mother, a single mother of four, worked at two jobs to keep a roof over their heads. Evans became "papa" at home, cooking and cleaning for his siblings.

As a teen, his size was an advantage in football. That and his passion for the marching band kept him fairly fit and out of trouble, he said. He continued with both in college at Grambling University, in Louisiana, then signed on as a trombone instructor and vocal teacher at his alma mater. Evans taught there for 14 years.

Over the years, a love of sweets turned the 260-pound teen into a 418-pound man.

When his brother became sick, Evans and his wife, La Tanya, moved back to Michigan to help with his brother's three children. Evans took a job as a sales manager at a clothing store and a night job in home health care.

At 36, Evans was frustrated by his physical condition. "I couldn't walk from the couch to the door without sitting down," he said. "But I didn't want to push back from the table."

Although he worked in a clothing store, his own shopping trips were a dreaded nightmare. When he went shopping, he didn't ask the salesman to show him where the jeans were or for a style tip, he asked for the largest size in the store. Sometimes even the largest size wouldn't fit.

"That's when my wife would turn to me and just say, 'It will be OK,'" Evans said. "She knew how bad I felt."

But it wasn't until the recruiter walked in that Evans pushed his plate away. He got up from the couch and started walking, then running. With smaller portions and a steady diet of gym trips, the weight flew off.

"I never lost sight of my goal (joining the Army)," Evans said. "Even at 418 pounds I never gave up. That's just who I am."

A much slimmer Evans enlisted in July and traveled to Fort Sam Houston to start combat medic training. He is once again a father figure, but this time for the younger soldiers, who call him "pops."

"I watch over them and try to keep them motivated," Evans said. "I'm up early and running and yelling and keeping the soldiers going at (physical training)."

"Private Evans motivates me every time I see him in front of the company," said 1st Sgt. Armand Fermin, C Company, 232nd Medical Battalion. "His performance and attitude are phenomenal. He energizes me and the cadre and provides the younger soldier medics a positive role model."

Evans said his fellow trainees always ask him where he gets his energy. "I tell them I do it because I couldn't at one time," he said. "If I could fly, I'd fly."

Right now he is flying through training, and his leadership is helping him to obtain a few other goals -- to become an active duty officer and a nurse.

"I feel like a different person," Evans said. "I'm the same on the inside, but now my energy level matches my inner drive. I have the energy to do what I want to do."

Regarding his surgery- and prescription-free weight loss, "If you get it in your head that you can and will beat this, you will," he said. "Say today, not tomorrow. I won't cut off, but cut back. Try not eating sweets for a week, anything that will motivate you."

Evans still avoids candy bars and most sweets, and doesn't give them a second thought. His primary focus is on his military future. "I'm aiming for 20 years in the Army," he said. "It took me a long time to achieve this goal and I'm going to keep going until I can't."
Link Posted: 12/23/2005 3:46:49 PM EST
Link Posted: 12/23/2005 3:47:02 PM EST
[Last Edit: 12/23/2005 3:51:50 PM EST by R-32]
I knew of guys that would not lose 5 to stay in.

BTW: If he were in B co. 232 med, he would be crying for mercy

Link Posted: 12/23/2005 3:55:11 PM EST
Most people gain 230lbs when they leave the Army I was lucky.........maintained my weight by switching to a different branch. That is a pretty amazing story though. Good for him.
Link Posted: 12/23/2005 3:57:19 PM EST

Originally Posted By 4xys2xxs:

Link Posted: 12/23/2005 3:57:49 PM EST
Good for him. He should be proud of himself.
Link Posted: 12/23/2005 3:59:38 PM EST
I lost some lbs to join too, but that guy deserves a satanding ovation!
Link Posted: 12/23/2005 4:06:06 PM EST
Great! Congradulations for him!
Link Posted: 12/23/2005 4:11:56 PM EST
WOW, that's just incredible.
Link Posted: 12/23/2005 4:13:22 PM EST
Already posted and discussed back in November -
Link Posted: 12/23/2005 5:55:56 PM EST

Originally Posted By Hipster:
Already posted and discussed back in November -

it still gives overweight people hope, ya know
Link Posted: 12/23/2005 6:01:45 PM EST

Link Posted: 12/23/2005 6:02:27 PM EST
it gives the overweight people hope, and shows what some will do to serve
Link Posted: 12/23/2005 6:27:55 PM EST
[Last Edit: 12/23/2005 6:28:25 PM EST by SWO_daddy]
From this:

To this

Link Posted: 12/23/2005 7:46:40 PM EST

Originally Posted By cruze5:

Originally Posted By Hipster:
Already posted and discussed back in November -

it still gives overweight people hope, ya know

Yep. I pointed to the original thread so folks can read what others had to say.

Note that I didn't yell "DUPE, DUPE, DUPE."
Link Posted: 12/23/2005 7:52:16 PM EST
I'm just trying to lose 15 lbs. I have no excuse now.
Link Posted: 12/23/2005 7:59:50 PM EST
Link Posted: 12/23/2005 8:54:36 PM EST
Damn, that is one motivated mutha. Good for him!
Link Posted: 12/23/2005 9:02:24 PM EST
Awesome. Now thats motivation.
Link Posted: 12/23/2005 9:07:48 PM EST
I'm down to 220 from 270. I figure i'll go talk to a recruiter once I hit 200. Inspiration ++

I remeber seeing a story about a Marine who went from like 350 pounds down to 130 after bootcamp. Not sure how much he had to lose to enlist.
Link Posted: 12/23/2005 9:08:53 PM EST

Excellent job on his part!
Link Posted: 12/23/2005 11:59:52 PM EST
Just the thought of all that excess skin ewwwwwww.
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