Bernard Sanabria graduated in 2010 from Mountain Valley High School. Those who attended music concerts may remember his beautiful voice and talent on the drums.

After high school, Sanabria joined the U.S. Army, National Guard and eventually attained the rank of Private First Class (PFC). He is currently still in the Guard after serving for three years as active duty.

PFC Sanabria was in the infantry, more specifically, he was a rifleman. He explained, “I carried a M4A1 assault rifle. Attached to the weapon was a M320 grenade launcher. Those where the two weapon systems I had in Afghanistan.”

Even though he didn’t like the cold, PFC Sanabria was stationed at Fort Drum, NY, for his term of active duty. He served one year in Afghanistan in 2011. Now his armory is in Lyndonville, VT, where he spends one weekend per month and two weeks per year.

PFC Sanabria joined “for the experience — to see what it was like to be part of that organization. It was interesting. I liked the military but not Fort Drum; it was really cold.”

Now that his active duty service is over, he explains, “I want to focus on school. I want to become a nurse. Right now I’m focusing on general studies for an associates then on to a bachelor’s in Nursing. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do. A lot of my family is in the medical field. The GI benefits will be a huge help financially.”

When we first began to work on the story, PFC Sanabria was unemployed. Since then, he found work in Rockland as a seafood processor.

In the process of completing the story, PFC Sanabria stopped by MVHS several times and even had the opportunity to visit the music department.

Music director Michael Prescott reflected on the visit, “Bernard has an incredible natural vocal talent and the intuition of a skilled musician. He was dependable, willing to fill in on whatever was needed and is missed in the music room. It always means a lot when a former student takes the time to stop by, catch up and reminisce.”

During his service, PFC Sanabria was known as “everyone’s walking iPod.” He was happy to make the contact with Prescott.

PFC Sanabria explained, “I asked if I could use the school’s studio and I’m also going to be stopping into one of his chorus classes. He wanted me to participate in the concert actually. My best memories were whenever I went to (Prescott’s) class. It was always a fun, relaxing environment.”

So make sure to attend the upcoming Christmas concert and once again hear Sanabria’s voice.

PFC Sanabria is the son of Tracy Sanabria of Rumford and Bernard Sanabria of Florida.

The senior Sanabria served in the U.S. Army for a career as a mechanic. PFC Sanabria’s siblings include Jasmine and Roberto, both of Rutland, VT; Timothy and Evelyn, who both live in Massachusetts; and Breanna of Rumford.