Twentynine Palms -- > Growing up, I loved spending time outside because I feel the most at home when I’m outdoors. I love being immersed in nature, which is why I have come to enjoy hunting and fishing so much. There is something about nature that makes you feel connected to your roots.
> One of the best times I had fishing was when I caught a huge fish that really put up a fight and it was great being able to reel it in. Unfortunately, after I got it out of the water it squirmed off of my hook and flopped back into the water. It was really disappointing but it was still a fun experience.
> I enjoy building and working on things. It’s the challenge of putting it together like I envision it in my head that I enjoy the most. My dad would do various maintenance projects or rebuild an engine or transmission on a vehicle we were working on. I learned a lot of my skills as a mechanic and carpenter from him.
> My family is close, but my parents gave me the freedom to make my own decisions. It taught me to make my own decisions but still get help and advice when I needed it.
> I have a brother that I became very close with. While we were growing up, he was diagnosed with leukemia. It was a hard time for everyone but through the hardship we became very close. Fortunately, he won the battle with cancer and is well today.
> Spending time outdoors, fixing cars and woodworking have always been activities that we did in my family. When I was 14, my parents asked me what I wanted for Christmas. I told them I wanted a muzzled-loaded rifle.
> When I woke up Christmas day, my parents had placed a block of oak and other pieces I needed to make the rifle under the tree. They told me if I wanted it, make it myself. They really taught me how to take care of myself.
> When I was about to leave for boot camp, I caught [mononucleosis] and I was not allowed to go. By the time I recovered, I had been in the delayed entry program for too long and had to redo the whole process.
> I really wanted to become a Marine so I signed for an open contract. I finally left for recruit training and was told later that I was going to be a [light armored vehicle] mechanic. It was funny, because I didn’t even know what a LAV was.
> It turned out to be the perfect fit for me. Working on LAVs reminds me of all the time I spent working on cars; they’re just bigger.
> After I finish my time with the Marine Corps, I want to become a game warden. Though I don’t know how long I’ll be in the Marine Corps yet.
> Becoming a game warden will allow me to spend a lot of time outside and enjoy myself. I also want to become one because it will give me the ability to keep the places I love safe for future generations to enjoy.