New SARC at work for all Copperheads

GOLDWATER AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Ariz. -- The unit’s new sexual assault response coordinator brings real-word experience, education and a true desire to help Airmen assigned to the 161st Air Refueling Wing here.

Capt. Roderick Higgins, earned a bachelor of business administration from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and a master’s of industrial organizational psychology from Louisiana Tech University.

Before moving to Arizona, he spent more than six years in the active duty Air Force as a personnel officer. Having the desire to serve as a SARC, but lacking the opportunity, he ended his active duty career as a deputy director of an equal opportunity office. 

He said working with people who are facing stressful situations helped prepare him for service as the SARC.

“Although the EO office and the SARC don’t necessarily work hand-in-hand, they both deal with similar sensitive issues,” said Higgins. “A person may come to the EO office thinking it is an EO issue, but it may end up in the realm of SARC. You deal with sensitive issues where people may have been traumatized; issues that people might not want the rest of the base to know about.”

After active duty, Higgins pursued many different career paths looking for the right fit. He worked as the assistant to the vice president for diversity at Colorado State University, worked at the Veteran’s Administration in Louisville, Kentucky, the FBI and then the EO director for the Ohio Air National Guard. 

It wasn’t until he discovered the opening for the SARC here that he knew he had found his calling and the job he doesn’t plan on leaving.

“The SARC is a job I’ve always wanted to have,” said Higgins. “I feel like it’s a calling. I’ve known people and troops who have been affected by sexual assault. I’ve always wanted to be able to help personally and not just send them somewhere else for help.”

He said being available to help those in need is the reason he is here.

“I’m always available - morning, noon and night,” said Higgins. “I’m someone who is always willing to talk and to listen. When I see someone come into my office feeling one way and then leaving another way – in a better state - that’s what I get joy from. That is my goal here. I want to do that as much as possible – that’s what I value.”

He wants the Airmen of the base to know sexual assault isn’t something that just affects women. It isn’t something that just affects young Airmen. It affects all genders, all grades and all jobs. 

The captain’s office is located in building 10 in the family readiness office. His hours of operation are Monday through Friday between 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.; however, he can be reached anytime through the SARC hotline at (602) 302-9176.