Ryan Stutler, the 24-year-old son of Kristi Stutler and Chad Garnes of Evans, is making waves in the United States Navy.
Having been born with clubfoot in both feet, Stutler’s mother, Kristi Stutler was told that her son may never walk or if he did, it would be very difficult for him. Kristi said she was told that Ryan would never be able to do “normal boy” things like play sports or join the military.
“It seemed like the odds were set against him from day one,” Kristi said.
After wearing many types of braces and enduring two surgeries, one at only eight-months old, on both of his feet, and the other when he was five-years-old, on just the right foot, Ryan defied all odds and took his first steps when he was 15-months-old.
Not only did Ryan walk, but at just seven-years-old he began playing football and continued to play throughout his high school career until graduating from Ripley High in 2014.
Following graduation he was unsure of what he wanted to do in life. He worked at a couple local manufacturing facilities, but nothing seemed to click for him. He knew he wanted more out of life.
When he turned 21, Ryan decided the military was calling his name. He answered that call by enlisting in the United States Navy, and since then the sky has been the limit for him, in more ways then one.
Ryan graduated at the top of his division in boot camp and went on to graduate at the top of his class from A school at the Naval Technical Training Center in Meridian, Mississippi.
According to military.com, the Navy calls its job training A school. All Navy enlisted ratings (jobs) have an A school, which teaches them the fundamentals of their new Navy job.
In the four short years he has been a member of the United States Navy, Ryan has received two Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals (NAMS), broken many records, is the lead supervisor for his work center, as well as being the Second Class Petty Officer Association (SCPOA) President for his command.
He is also the command program manager for the Support Equipment Planned Maintenance System. According to Ryan, this program is found to be the most off-track program across the board in the Navy.
“I recently had a big inspection done on my program,” Ryan said. “My program scored an overall 96 percent. That is far above Navy average which is around 74 percent.”
A major accomplishment and honor in which Ryan received in November of 2019 through his command, the VFA-83 “Rampagers,”was the Blue Jacket of the Year award.
“To me being Blue Jacket of the Year means always being a shining example for newly enlisted sailors,” Ryan said. “It means embodying the Navy core values in honor, courage, and commitment. Always willing to give any sailor a helping hand who might need it.”
With his love of the military, Ryan recently re-enlisted for three more years with the Navy, putting his “end of contract” date as March 1, 2023.
“He never ceases to amaze me and he truly does inspire me to do better and be better everyday,” Kristi said. “He is my hero and I couldn’t be more proud of who he is and who he is becoming.”
Ryan recently married Alejandra Hancock, also a graduate of Ripley High School. The former Vikings, now newlyweds, will be residing in Virginia Beach, Virginia, while Ryan is stationed in Norfolk, Virginia, as he continues his career with the United States Navy.