The Auburn Alumni Association has honored Dr. Soren Rodning with the Young Alumni Achievment Award.
Rodning can be considered many things to many different people. If you were to ask him, he'd tell you he is ordinary. His wife calls him a loving husband. His children call him a great father. His employer calls him an outstanding employee. His students call him helpful. His country calls him Captain.
Rodning serves Auburn University as an extension veterinarian and associate professor. His primary duties include service to Alabama's farmers and veterinarians through education and training in animal health. He also serves as an undergrad advisor for students within the animal science department.
In addition to his commitment to Auburn University and his family, Rodning has made a commitment to his country. He serves as a captain in the United States Army Reserve.
Rodning's military work gives him the opportunity to utilize his professional skills in Afghanistan. Through civil assistance programs, Rodning was able to promote and educate agricultural practices to the citizens of Afghanistan. Rodning's work gave them the knowledge and skill sets needed to develop agriculture within their country, providing more sustainability and stability to the region.
As a testament to his service, the Department of Animal Sciences at Auburn University announced the following in 2011.
Dr. Soren Rodning, an assistant professor in the Department of Animal
Sciences and a U.S. Army reservist deployed to Afghanistan with the veterinary corps of the 358th Medical Detachment, put Auburn University in the final running for the prestigious 2011 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award, the highest recognition the U.S. defense department gives to employers of servicemen.
Rodning spent the majority of his Afghanistan tour serving in a preventative medicine role as an inspector of the food and water sources for the personnel in his area of operation. This ensured the fitness of the troops and kept them fit for combat operations. Healthy troops lead to successful missions. Successful missions means soldiers are going home safely to their families.
In his veterinary role, Rodning serves as the primary health provider for the military working dogs. In Afghanistan, these dogs play a pivotal role in explosive ordnance detection. The health of these animals has a huge impact on the safety of our troops on the front line.
Rodning's service was family inspired. His father and grandfather both served in the military. Military service was his opportunity to continue the family tradition and give back to his country in a fun and exciting way. Whether it's for a 6-month deployment or a weekend in Montgomery for drill, Rodning must leave his family behind.
"Military service is certainly a family activity," Rodning said. "While I'm away for military service, my family is at home having to keep things going. It's definitely a family endeavor."
The combination of his professional accolades and community involvement led to Rodning being honored by the Auburn Alumni Association with the Young Alumni Achievment Award. The award is given annually to 10 alumni under the age of 40. When Rodning learned of the award he was immediately humbled.
"I look at some of the winners this year and past award winners, and I don't really feel like I belong in their company," said Rodning. "It's a very humbling experience to even be considered for such an award and recognition. I'm very humbled and very happy by the whole experience"
Rodning will continue to tell you that he's an ordinary person, but ask those close to him their opinion. They will tell you the truth. Rodning is anything but ordinary. He is an asset to Auburn University. Rodning is a husband, a father, a professional, a mentor, a soldier -- a hero.