COLUMBUS, Ohio –
Family and friends gathered to honor Army Chief Warrant Officer 4 Joseph Scarpill during a Jan. 18 retirement ceremony at the Defense Supply Center Columbus.
Scarpill served 27 years in the military, finishing his final three years as the deputy division chief for the Land Readiness Division, Customer Operations Directorate
, at the Defense Logistics Agency Land and Maritime
DLA Land and Maritime and DSCC Commander Navy Rear Adm. John Palmer presided over the ceremony.
During Palmer’s opening remarks, he took the audience on a walk down memory lane, painting a picture of what the world was like when Scarpill enlisted in March 1992 mentioning gas prices, presidency, hit films and movies.
And while this information was interesting, it was only the beginning of the world that Scarpill would leave his legacy to.
Scarpill is married to Tonya and they have four children and two grandchildren.
As most military families know, to survive a career in the service, one must be able to go with the flow and change course at a moment’s notice. The Scarpill family understood this and having experienced half a dozen deployments, moves as well as missed birthdays, sporting events and family functions along the way. Scarpill’s retirement ceremony was no exception as unexpected events during the day’s program gave way to showcase the family’s ability to adjust course.
“This retirement is for our entire family,” Tonya Scarpill said speaking on behalf of their family. “It’s not about what you go through, it’s what you grow through. Change is good, embrace it.”
Tonya did just that during her speech - embracing the unexpected.
As she provided thanks to those who supported their family’s journey, she realized she was missing a sheet from her prepared speech and asked for her purse. Scarpill retrieved the handbag from their son and started to search for the misplaced page.
The audience chuckled and one person shouted, “sir, don’t do it, it’s a trap, just hand her the purse.”
Heeding the advice, he laughed and carried the purse to his wife only to realize the page had disappeared altogether and she had to adapt and proceed without.
Friend and guest speaker, retired Army Lt. Col. Dwayne Stanton, said he would talk about three guiding principles that truly embraced who Scarpill really is: family, friends and faith.
Stanton touched on the impact of Scarpill’s family throughout his career and continued to discuss friendships, stating “there’s family and then there’s family of choice.”
Stanton shared stories of Scarpill’s career highlighting his sense of humor and how the prank war between the two started early on in their friendship. Although one story stood out and that was of Scarpill’s impact on others through his leadership.
“Nobody understands the people business more than you,” Stanton said.
Scarpill has a unique ability to know when something doesn’t seem right, Stanton continued. He has a faith that can move mountains, that’s infectious, it inspires.
The two of them volunteered for duty over a long holiday weekend back in 2002 and were doing rounds in the barracks when Scarpill found what appeared to be a suicide note stashed behind a vending machine. This led them down the hall to a soldier’s room.
“I watched Joe serve as part commander, part counselor, part preacher,” Stanton said. “Joe connected to the solider in a way I’ve never seen someone connect.”
When Scarpill took the stage, he continued the story stating that six years later he ran into the solider in Iraq.
“He came up to me, shook my hand and said thank you,” Scarpill explained. “That’s life impact. That’s leadership, taking care of those you’re responsible for.”
Anyone who knows Scarpill knows how much he cares; although that isn’t by accident.
Scarpill continued to state that “nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care” and that’s something he has purposefully tried to exhibit throughout his career and life.