Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Page 8 Page 9 Page 10 Page 11 Page 12 Page 13 Page 14 Page 15 Page 16 Page 17 Page 18 Page 19 Page 20 Page 21 Page 22 Page 23 Page 24 Page 25 Page 26 Page 27 Page 28 Page 29 Page 30 Page 31 Page 32 Page 33 Page 34 Page 35 Page 36 Page 37 Page 38 Page 39 Page 40 Page 41 Page 42 Page 43 Page 44 Page 45 Page 46by J. Keagan Miller, Unit Commander Miami Valley (OH) Back in 2000, I met a man in an Air Force uniform who would help shape me forever. As a Marine fresh out of Recruit Train- ing, I had no clue about his rank nor the impact he would have on me for the rest of my life. He quickly introduced himself as Chief Master Sergeant John Bankowitz. I wondered how you spelled such a name (even now I still get red squiggles from Microsoft Word trying to correct me). He had a faded Marine Corps tattoo on his forearm from his days in Vietnam. Mr. Bankowitz was the Unit Commander for the (then) Dayton Young Marines. He led the unit, and my first real discussion with him came about during the third (not consecutive) time I attended a drill. John asked me why I signed up for this pro- gram if I was going to be so sporadic with my attendance. Being young and dumb, I am sure I promised him improve- ment in my attendance without delivering. Fast forward to the next election. The Executive Officer at the time left the program to pursue his career as a Marine Corps Officer. Mr. Bankowitz scanned the crowd, look- ing for nominations on for a new XO. I could see the disappointment in his eyes when I was nominated (no further names were offered among the Registered Adults to run against me). His apparent disappointment hit me hard, and then I knew I had to step up and step up fast. I read everything I could about the Young Marines from the old Yellow Monsters, the RAM, and anything else I could. I was heart-set on proving to this man that I was the right man for the job (even though I was just learning to shave). We grew to become great friends throughout the next year, and even closer when I was later able to take his spot in the next election. He quietly informed the voting adults that he wasn’t running again. He said he was “only doing the job until I found a replacement I could trust.” He had molded me into the sort of a leader he hoped would help the unit grow. Over the years and several deployments between the two of us, the command of the unit has shifted numerous times. During one span of time around 2004, neither of us were able to see each other for nearly two years because his deployment sent him away a month before I returned. Without a son of his own, my second father sent me a photo that I still cherish today. It was a photo of John and his wife, Julie, wearing blue star “My Son is a Marine” t-shirts on their front lawn. No matter what life has thrown at us or our unit over the years, we always know the group is taken care of when the other is present. I hope all of the Young Marines and Staff can find or have found their mentor and friend within this great program. This world is too big and scary to have to take it on alone.. Thank you Chief, and thanks to all my other mentors in this program. Semper Fidelis! An Ohio UC’s Mentor, and a Friend: CMS John Bankowitz By YM/SSgt Joel Abzun Excelsior High Desert (CA) When I first stepped into the hallway, two men gave me information about the Young Marines. There were people filing documents and entering informa- tion into a computer. After waiting for what seemed to be forever, we headed to the field. Waiting there was a woman and two YMs who were marching a full platoon. My family was amazed. My par- ents wondered,“What do these people earn being here?” All my years in the Young Marines, I noticed that staff members were always there. It amazed me that Staff was always there to comfort, encourage, correct (if necessary), give us first aid, etc. They had always been the first to wake up and the last to turn in for the evening. In all my years of being a Young Marine, I have had the privilege of attending Leadership Schools, Encamp- ments, and recruit training, and despite how challenging these encampments were, the Staff was always there to support us. Through the years, my concerns and my goals have grown along with me. Now I know that the most important thing is to realize the importance of the people who surround you. After high school, I was talking with a Training Officer and he told me: “When you have passion, you do the action in which your heart calls for.” This is what these volunteers get when they offer their service, their life abilities, and knowledge to the Young Marines. I hope these heroes are always there for the children, by the children and with the children. A big thank you from the bottom of our hearts! Happy Volun- teer Month! Adult Volunteer Month: Some Thoughts (and Plenty of Thanks) ESPRIT ONLINE | Page 28