Being home for the Holidays is something that hasn’t always been possible for the men and women who answer the call to defend and protect the United States of America. Ever since Valley Forge those days have been etched into our history with pain, suffering and honor. So it is as another year enters the pages of history that it is fitting to remember them all and appreciate those who will be standing guard on distant shores this holiday season. And to honor those in our community who have recently chosen to wear the uniform of military service to America. This spring William Austin graduated from Skyview High School and Jesse Ross of Nikiski High School, members of the Class of 2013. Today they are home for the holidays as PVT 1st Class William Austin and PVT 1st Class Jesse Ross, United States Marines and hometown heroes after completing their basic training.

“Actually it was just after last Thanksgiving I stopped by the Peninsula Center Mall to talk with recruiter, Staff Sergeant Rehm about military service and I learned that as a Marine I could do a lot more personal service and meaningful time in the military; doing what you love for who you love. To be a Marine is a great honor,” said Austin in an interview. “It was the benefits that drew me to the Marine Corp and my step brother who is also now a United States Marine,” said Jesse Ross, “I feel that volunteering for service is much greater than being drafted, I appreciate the right to make a choice and am very proud of the choice I made,” he added. Both Ross and Austin agreed that boot camp was different than what they had envisioned, “It was much more informative and academic then I thought it would be and over all was a great experience.”

In January the new Marines will be heading to Camp Pendleton California for further combat training, “I look forward to it getting tougher and learning more skills. That is what makes you a better person,” commented Austin. PVT 1st Class Ross and Austin, are Home Town Heroes and maintaining the tradition of the U.S. Marines and service men and women who will be standing guard around the world for all of us who are fortunate enough to be home for the holidays.