A Versatile Veteran

Staff Writer

by cigi sparks
o-n-e reporter
Veterans Day gives Americans the opportunity to recognize and celebrate those who have sacrificed their lives to protect the United States and each citizen’s freedom.
There are more than 21.8 million veterans throughout the country – and some very special ones reside here in Newton.
Anthony Stobbe, 28, of Newton, is a U.S. Army Veteran who now serves as a patrol officer for the Newton Police Department. 
Stobbe, who has been working with the Newton Police Department for about six months, has a wife and two kids, and has been living in the Newton-Conover area for 21 years. 
Stobbe enlisted in the military right out of high school and went to boot camp and basic training at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo. Stobbe went through training to become a Combine Engineer, which deals with explosives.
“My recruiter actually lied to me – I told him I wanted to do construction and he said ‘Oh, I have the perfect job for you!’,” Stobbe said. “I got to my first day of book camp and my drill sergeant asked us ‘How many of you had your recruiter tell you this was construction?’ and about 90 percent of us raised our hands. He was like ‘Yeah, you got lied to. You’re never going to build anything, you deal with landmines and explosives.’ I love my job though, I’m back to being a combine engineer now.”
Stobbe spent a total of 7 years in an active military position. During this time, he served in Iraq from Aug. 2007 to Aug. 2008 and then in Afghanistan from Sept. 2011 to Sept. 2012. During the war, Stobbe’s position as a combine engineer was responsible for looking for roadside bombs and destroying them. 
Following his time as a combine engineer in the field, Stobbe returned home to Catawba County to work as a recruiter for the Newton, Conover, and Hickory areas. He spend three years as a recruiter before looking into a new career in law enforcement.
“I always wanted to do the soldier or the cop thing, but I never could decide which one. I always wanted to be a cop, even after I became a soldier,” Stobbe said. “If you want to know the honest truth, I was sitting in my office one day – i was having a horrible day and I was extremely angry, and a police officer came over to the armory. He came in my office, we started talking, and two months later I quit my job as a recruiter – thats when I got picked up by Newton Police. NPD paid for my schooling and paid for me to go to school and when they offered to do that, I was dead set on walking out of recruiting.”
Now Stobbe works as a patrol officer for the department and continues to serve in the National Guard as a Platoon Sergeant and combine engineer, teaching other soldiers about improvised explosive devices. 
From day to day, as Stobbe works to “serve and protect the citizens of Newton,” he is thankful for one key skill that he was taught during his time in the military – communication.
“You just have to know how to talk to people – thats the one thing it boils down to,” he said. “ Thats one good thing about being a recruiter – you learn how to communicate with people from all walks of life. Thats also one good thing about being in the military – you sit down with people who might have had a very rich upbringing, you’re friends with them and you’re friends with people who might have lived in foster care their whole lives, who may not have had anything – you don’t really see that though, you just see people, and I think thats something good to have in law enforcement. You just really have to know how to talk to somebody.”
As always, Veterans Day will be celebrated on Nov. 11.