(PRWEB) February 05, 2014
The Young Marines youth organization has named its Division 3 "Young Marine of the Year" – YM SgtMaj Alexander Messmer, 18, of Havelock, NC. Messmer is a member of the Cherry Point Young Marines of Cherry Point, NC. He is a junior at Early College East High School.
"I am extremely grateful for being selected the Young Marine of the Year for Division 3," he said, "and I am excited to have the opportunity to work with other Young Marines from my division. Also I am eager to be able to not only teach but learn from the experiences I will have with members of other units."
Messmer joined the Young Marines at age eight and currently, he is in his 10th year in the program. When he was three years old his two older brothers were Young Marines and his mother was a YM volunteer.
"By the time I was six," he said, "I would stand behind the platoon and say the Young Marine obligation pledge with the unit. I couldn't wait until I was old enough to be a Young Marine like my brothers."
Messmer said that being a Young Marine has made him a better leader and a positive example to other youth, not only in the organization, but in all his other activities.
Recently, he earned the Distinguished Order of Merit as well as many ribbons over ten years. He is proud of his Life Saving award, Personal Achievement, and the Unit of the Year award.
As a Young Marine of the Year, Messmer is invited to travel to Guam and Iwo Jima for the annual Reunion of Honor trip. He will join the five other division winners named Young Marines of the Year, the two winners of the Young Marines’ annual Jimmie Trimble scholarship; the national Young Marine of the Year SgtMajor Dakota Richter; and Mike Kessler, national executive director and CEO of the Young Marines.
"I am extremely excited to travel to Iwo Jima and Guam," he said. "Not everyone is afforded the opportunity to travel with veterans, hear about their experiences and learn from their knowledge."
When he graduates from high school, he will have his associate degree in Electrical Engineering, and he hopes to continue his education in engineering at a four-year college. Also he would like to join the Marine Corps Reserve.
"As an engineer, I will need to be a strong leader and a quick thinker," Messmer said, "and I believe the Young Marines helps with that. I make training schedules, report to promotion boards, recruit Young Marines for training classes and participate in leadership schools, all of which helps me take charge and lead the way."
Messmer is the son of Terry and Paula Cusson. He has two sisters and three brothers. Besides his involvement with the Young Marines, he participates in his church youth group and scuba diving.
How it works
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 in May, 2014.
Mike Kessler, national executive director and CEO of the Young Marines, calls each division winner to congratulate her or him. Then he invites each to travel to Guam and Iwo Jima for the annual Reunion of Honor trip.
"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 unable to be found in any book. Also, I get to know them and see how each interacts with others. If selected as the National YMOY, he or she will work for me, so this piece is important."
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.