Texas National Guard Soldier Honors Fallen High School Student

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Pvt. Jon Michael Macias of Austin, Texas, was a student in good standing at Round Rock High School on April 23, 2010, when tragedy struck his entire campus.

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GED Plus Company Commander Chief Warrant Officer John Runyan places a diploma in the hand of Pvt. Jon Michael Macias at a graduation ceremony on Camp Robinson in North Little Rock, June 21.

Pvt. Jon Michael Macias of Austin, Texas, was a student in good standing at Round Rock High School on April 23, 2010, when tragedy struck his entire campus.

Macias and Raven Mayes were cadets in the Marine Corps Junior ROTC program. On their way to an ROTC event, the vehicle Mayes was riding in crossed into oncoming traffic on I-35 and was struck by an 18-wheeler. Mayes was transported to University Medical Hospital at Brackenridge in Austin where she later died. Macias and his classmates were stricken with grief.

It wasn't long after the accident that Macias began hanging out with the wrong crowd and made poor choices including the one he regretted most...dropping out of high school. Macias didn’t fully realize the consequences of his decisions until he remembered Raven’s ambition, motivation and zest for life. She would have wanted him to move on and accomplish great things in his life.

"I wasn't going anywhere in life," Macias said. "It was on the anniversary of Raven's death this year that I decided to do something, better my life and make her proud. It was the least I could do for myself and to honor her memory."

Macias joined the Texas Army National Guard's 143rd Infantry Regiment (Airborne) as a unit supply specialist. On June 21, Macias walked across the stage at the Army National Guard GED Plus program with his diploma in hand. After completing basic training at Fort Benning, he will learn his military occupational skill at the U.S. Army Quartermaster School in Ft. Lee, Va. Macias will continue his training at the U.S. Army Airborne School in Ft. Benning, Ga., upon successful completion of his advanced individual training.

Macias said when he returns home this fall, he plans to attend Texas A&M University and join the famed TAMU Corps of Cadets and later serve as an officer in the Texas Army National Guard. He is the son of Catherine and Carlos Macias of Austin

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