Ceremony honors military-bound Mid-Ohio Valley high school grads
PARKERSBURG — Veterans, recruitment officers and military families came out to honor graduates going into the military. This is the third year that local military moms have organized a ceremony in honor of students who have committed to different branches of the military. Around 30 recruits were honored at Fort Boreman Saturday.
“Your community, friends and family believe in you and stand with you,” said Lea Ann Mason, event organizer and proud mother of a Marine. Mason is joined in organizing the event by two other mothers, Catherine Lee, who has two sons in the Marines, and Heather Stanley, who has a son in the Army.
Family members could be seen wearing shirts that said “proud marine sister” or other slogans that showed their support for those joining a branch of the armed forces.
Haven Morrison, an 18-year-old soon-to-be Parkersburg South High School graduate, was the only recruit in the area for the Navy.
“My whole family has served or is severing in the Navy,” said Morrison “My great grandfather was a WW2 Navy Diver, my grandpa and brother machinist mates and my sister is serving as well.”
Morrison said it was a big honor to be able to follow in her family’s footsteps.
The event coined a name this year, the Jake Einarson Recruitment Appreciation, after an area recruitment officer who has helped with the event since the beginning, but sadly passed away just weeks after last year’s event.
Staff Sergeant Greer, Einarson’s friend and co-recruiter, spoke at the event in his honor.
“Jake constantly worked to challenge people to be their best,” said Greer. “We miss him, he was a great friend and good person and we thank you for honoring him here today.”
Greer shared a story about Einarson with those gathered before closing his speech with thanks and encouragements.
“I want to say thank you to those that are taking that sacrifice and joining the military,” he said.
Eric Proctor, a Marine, also spoke at the event, offering words of wisdom and encouragement. Proctor has been an assistant football coach at Warren High School.
“This decision should not be taken lightly and we want to show our appreciation for all of you no matter what branch,” said Mason.
Neva Bryant, an 18-year-old soon-to-be Parkersburg Catholic High School graduate, is joining the Army National Guard.
“I always wanted to serve, but didn’t know what branch until meeting with a recruiter at a job fair and figuring out this was right path for me,” she said.
Bryant will leave July 19 for basic training and AIT job training to be a horizontal construction engineer, before returning for college. She has already taken her MEPS and has been attending drill for three months.
She is going to study political science and international relations at Shepherd University in hopes for a job in the future with the State Department.
After college she will serve for two years, unless she does ROTC in college, at which point she could renegotiate her contract as an officer.
Among other recruits was 18-year-old soon-to-be Point Pleasant High School graduate Tim Morris, who will be joining the Marines.
“I am very excited to join in my family’s tradition of serving our country,” said Morris.
He leaves for boot camp on May 30 and will be training as a combat engineer.
“Serving your country is a great opportunity and if you don’t know what you want to do after high school, I think it is an option you should really consider,” he said.
Madeline Scarborough can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org