RICHMOND, VA (NBC12) - A military man, with deep Richmond roots, has formally taken an important step in the leadership of the United States Army Reserve.
And while newly appointed Brigadier General Paul Benenati has accomplished quite a bit, he gives all the credit to those around him.
One by one, family and friends of Benanti spoke the praises of the military man, who has worked his way to the top.
After a career that began almost 30 years ago, Saturday he was officially promoted to the rank of Brigader General but while Benanti has accomplished a great deal, he gives all the credit to the soldiers who serve under him.
"When something happens that is a dangerous situation most folks run away from it," he said. "These folks they run right into it and do what they can to protect others."
Benanti started his military career in 1980 after completing the ROTC program at the University of Richmond.
He is only the fourth graduate of the program to reach the rank of General.
It's an accomplishment that is extremly rare for ROTC graduates.
"They used to use the statistic that one-half of one percent of every second Second Lt. that joins the Army will ever make it to the rank of Brigadier General," said U.S. Army Reserve MG John McLaren.
While Benanti has served his country in many different places around the U.S. and the world, including Iraq, he knew he wanted to have this special event in Richmond.
"This has been my home now for the last 30 years," he said. "Richmond is a great hometown it is a great community."
Despite his success, Benanti says it's the soldiers who inspire him.
"When they are outside and it is cold and its rainy they don't care, they are still doing a good job and they still do the mission," he said.