In life, everyone has their calling. It speaks to them most above anything else. Joe Palumbo’s calling is serving in the military.
Palumbo, a fourth-year co-captain for the Men’s Rugby team, has played all four years of his college career. He played his final match on Sunday, Oct. 21 against Molloy College during which he touched down four tries in a 33-23 victory. He did not finish out the season due to his impending deployment.
Palumbo’s family is rich with military veterans and experience. His grandfather fought in the Korean War and his cousins are currently serving in Iraq.
Palumbo said his family’s military background was influential in his decision to enlist. He is confident that serving is something he is willing to commit to for a good portion of his life.
“I love serving and plan to continue for many years and possibly make it a career for myself,” he said. “The opportunities for advancement are endless and based on performance, so you dictate your own future.”
Palumbo has cherished playing rugby since he set foot onto New Paltz’s campus as a first-year student. The camaraderie that the team had was something he appreciated which has translated on and off the field. He gives praise to Head Coach Gus Sasso and his fellow co-captains for contributing to the success he has enjoyed as a New Paltz rugby player.
“I would argue and say that we are the closest team in New Paltz, and that’s the way that a team should be,” Palumbo said. “Everyone respects and helps one another and it is rare that you will find one rugby player out somewhere without a buddy or two from the team.”
A “buddy or two” of Palumbo’s have been very supportive of their teammate. Fellow rugby players fourth-year Joe Kruk and fourth-year James Flynn-Kocourek praise Palumbo’s decision to enlist in the Army and his future prospects.
“I am so proud of Joe being a part of the military, and I am proud to tell people that,” Flynn-Kocourek said. “He has natural leadership skills and he is a brave and fearless person. His leadership skills have really been evident this year as a captain on the rugby team. He inspires and pushes the people around him to be better with his work ethic and dedication and I think that is his biggest strength that carries over into the army.”