NETHERLANDS – Melanie Shetley felt the fog as her son was sitting at the table with the recruiter.
Her son Hayden Glenn Steele will graduate Dutch high school this week and have already signed papers for the US Army.
Her husband is in the army. So is her father-in-law.
“Having him follow in this footsteps is absolutely amazing, a moment so proud that I can’t explain it any other way,” Melanie Steele said in a cracked voice. “People only dream of meeting their heroes, and I have to raise my own.”
The high school student has already signed the official papers, but on Friday he was honored and six other students in the Netherlands went to the army for Military Commitment Day.
His older sister Helle Stihl said it was probably the most liberating decision he could have made for himself, and most importantly, he made the decision on his own.
He wasn’t affected by anything,” Halle Steele said. “It was something that woke me up one day and said, ‘I’m going to risk my life for anyone else,’ and I stood by her every second.”
The proud sister said that this was perhaps the most heroic and wonderful thing that Hayden could do for the family and for oneself.
A teacher or administrator spoke on behalf of each student, and Greg Rose, director of the Dutch High School Board, spoke for Hayden Steele. He said the graduate was a good listener, someone who could be counted on, hardworking and willing to give his time
Sgt. U.S. military. Geoffrey Porter explained that Hayden Stell would go to Bravo 91 where he would work as a wheeled auto mechanic.
The other soldiers present were National Sergeant Howard Staff. Robert Mackey, US Navy Sergeant. Jacarius Carruthers.
Kylie Jade Vincent will also join the US Army.
Assistant Director Lauren Sanders spoke about Vincent’s character traits. Strong, resilient, ambitious, loyal and passionate.
“She’s a natural protector. One of Kylie’s greatest traits,” Sanders said, is that she can see the good in others no matter how they treat her.
Counselor Cindy Bordlon explained that Grace Lillian Washburn’s journey was different from that of Grace Lillian Washburn’s. Washburn’s mother wasn’t too keen on her daughter joining the army, so a compromise was made. If Grace goes to college, she can enlist in the military after graduation.
At the age of 17, Washburne made the decision to join the Army National Guard, which changed her entire first year. She went to a training camp, which means she can’t join a rotation camp.
“What stopped her from doing something she loved and being part of the high tide line with the band,” Bordlon said. “She had nine-week bootcamps, which were out of state. She is 17, she has a lot of respect and I am very proud of her.”
Johnny Lee Ismail Torres will join the United States Marine Corps upon graduation. Jodi Miller, Holland High School coach, spoke about Torres’ work ethic and how a student can be counted on.
“If it’s in a class or in a group of students, you probably won’t notice until those students are challenged with an assignment,” Miller said.
Last football season, Torres spent some time in Houston training and coaching, but he’s back and ready for Friday night football.
In addition to the students who had already signed up for the army, many of them were planning to sign. They include Ryan Marie Hoffman and Jose Reyes Garcia Jr., who will sign with the Marines, and Sarel Johannes van Aswegen, who will sign with the US Navy.
Friday marks the first time the NHS has held Military Commitments Signing Day.
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