The Young Marines youth organization has named six division winners in its most prestigious award - the “Division Young Marines of the Year.”
- Div. 1 – YM SgtMaj Austin Loppe, 16, of Mingo Junction, OH. Loppe is a member of the Tri-State Young Marines in Weirton, OH. He is a junior at Indian Creek High School.
- Div. 2 – YM SgtMaj Jason Mooney, 16, of Parkville, MD. Mooney is a member of the Hamilton Young Marines in Baltimore, MD. He is a junior at Parkville High School.
- Div. 3 – YM SgtMaj Alexander Messmer, 18, of Havelock, NC. He is a member of the Cherry Point Young Marines in Cherry Point, NC. He is a junior at Early College East High School.
- Div. 4 - YM SgtMaj Joshua Aikman, 18, Marrero, LA. He is a member of the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office Young Marines of Harvey, LA. He is a senior at New Orleans Military and Maritime Academy.
- Div. 5 - YM SgtMaj Michael Borka, 15, of Swartz Creek, MI. He is a member of the Shiawassee County Young Marines in Durand, MI. He is a sophomore at Swartz Creek High School.
- Div. 6 – YM SgtMaj Blake De Weese, 17, of Beaverton, OR. De Weese is a member of the Oregon Cascade Young Marines of Portland, OR. He is a junior at Westview High School, also in Portland.
All six honorees will travel to Guam and Iwo Jima for the annual Reunion of Honor trip. Also invited are the two winners of the Young Marines’ annual Jimmie Trimble scholarship – YM GySgt Mary Wessell of Cleveland, OH, and YM Sgt Nathan Baker of Atlanta, GA; the national Young Marine of the Year - YM SgtMaj Dakota Richter of Crestview Hills, KY; the honor graduate of the National Advance Leadership School - YM GySgt Oscar Pinate of FL; and Mike Kessler, national executive director and CEO of the Young Marines.
Serving as adult chaperones are Division 2 Commander George Biedenbender and Lisa Farmer of the Swansboro Young Marines.
“The trip gives each division winner a chance to showcase the program and the good work done by the Young Marines with veterans,” Kessler said. “The trip serves as an invaluable history lesson not to be found in any book. Also, I am able to see how each interacts with others. It’s important that I get to know them well, because the one selected as the National Young Marine of the Year will become the national spokesperson for the program.”
The Young Marines organization is divided into six divisions across the United States. Each Young Marine goes through a series of selection processes starting at the unit level, going through battalion, regiment and on to the division. At the division level, the packages (portfolios) of the final candidates are reviewed for consideration.
Annually, one Young Marine of the Year is selected from each division. From these six winners, only one will be named the “National Young Marine of the Year” which will be announced at the adult leaders’ conference for Young Marines in June, 2014, in Washington, D.C.
The Young Marines is a national non-profit 501c(3) youth education and service program for boys and girls, age eight through the completion of high school. The Young Marines promotes the mental, moral and physical development of its members. The program focuses on teaching the values of leadership, teamwork and self-discipline, so its members can live and promote a healthy, drug-free lifestyle.
Since the Young Marines' humble beginnings in 1959 with one unit and a handful of boys, the organization has grown to over 300 units with 10,000 youth and 3,000 adult volunteers in 46 states, the District of Columbia, Germany, Japan and affiliates in a host of other countries.
For more information, visit the official website at: http://www.YoungMarines.com.
Media Contact: Andy Richardson
Ginny Richardson Public Relations
630-789-8899 or firstname.lastname@example.org