Twentynine Palms -- >I grew up in Maryland and lived there basically my whole life. At the age of two, I began traveling every summer with my great grandmother to El Salvador. The last time I went, I was eighteen.
>I would go there during the summer and attend school in Maryland for the rest of the year. My grandmother would work two jobs to be able to save enough money for us to go every year. We have a lot of family there still.
>I grew up with a single mom and was raised in a household full of women. Growing up in a neighborhood that wasn’t so friendly, but with a loving family as the foundation really affected my beliefs and values.
>When I was younger I was bullied for all sorts of things. Going through all that made me who I am and built a stronger mindset and inspired me to go in a positive direction.
>A friend from high school came back from the Marine Corps and he was like a whole new person. I saw that and thought, “I need to get like that.” I never knew anything about the Marine Corps but I went in and I would like to say I achieved the transformation I sought. I’ve come to expect the same thing from my junior Marines.
>The biggest thing I’ve learned from the Marine Corps is camaraderie. One thing about Marines that I love so much is that I can come here from Okinawa to [the Combat Center] and just be instantly integrated into the system. If I see you in the civilian world ten years later, we are going to connect. That is what I love about the Marine Corps — through our core values, we are brothers and sisters.
>For those who really know me, I love making music. Music was one of those things that helped get me through everything I’ve gone through. I started with an ear for it. I know a little piano and guitar but certain sounds and pitches were really interesting to me. I’ve written lyrics for songs that have turned out really beautiful. I plan on making a CD for fun once I’m able too.
>I enjoy just about everything from country to rap but the genre that speaks to me most is often hip hop. Songs that tell a story and do it well are the most interesting to me.
>I’m looking to become a firefighter. I’m starting a course with Copper Mountain College for their [emergency medical technician] program soon. I just completed basic life-support training as well. I love serving the community, helping people and especially taking care of Marines.
>I really look up to my great-grandmother because she lived through civil wars in El Salvador and has seen a lot. She is probably one of my biggest heroes because she started with just the clothes on her back and worked and worked and still works to this day. She was the root that got my family to the U.S. She started with nothing and made something happen and I want to continue to give back to my family.
>In the Marine Corps, everyone is my role-model. Regardless of rank you can learn from everyone.