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4th Marine Corps District

Marine Corps Recruiting Command

Applicant perseveres for opportunity to become a Marine

By Sgt. Timothy Stewman | 4th Marine Corps District | March 05, 2014

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Poolee Abby Thomas of Recruiting Substation Lakewood performs crunches during a station pool function held at the RSS on February 19, 2014. When Thomas was not able to join last year because she could not obtain parental consent, she continued to attend pool functions and better herself until she turned 18 and was able to join on her own. The Cleveland native will be going to recruit training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, S.C. to earn the title Marine in April.  (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. T.M. Stewman/Released)

Poolee Abby Thomas of Recruiting Substation Lakewood performs crunches during a station pool function held at the RSS on February 19, 2014. When Thomas was not able to join last year because she could not obtain parental consent, she continued to attend pool functions and better herself until she turned 18 and was able to join on her own. The Cleveland native will be going to recruit training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, S.C. to earn the title Marine in April. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. T.M. Stewman/Released) (Photo by Sgt. Timothy Stewman)


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Poolee Abby Thomas, 18, out of Recruiting Substation Lakewood, will have the opportunity to earn the title United States Marine when she reports for recruit training in April. Thomas managed to stay committed to her decision to join even when initially she could not obtain parental consent. Thomas persevered, showing up to each pool function and staying involved until she was able to join at the age of 18. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Timothy Stewman/Released)

Poolee Abby Thomas, 18, out of Recruiting Substation Lakewood, will have the opportunity to earn the title United States Marine when she reports for recruit training in April. Thomas managed to stay committed to her decision to join even when initially she could not obtain parental consent. Thomas persevered, showing up to each pool function and staying involved until she was able to join at the age of 18. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Timothy Stewman/Released) (Photo by Sgt. Timothy Stewman)


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Lakewood, Ohio --

Honor. Courage. Commitment.

To the average person those three words can have different meanings. For a United States Marine those three words mean everything. It is the foundation of Marine Corps’ ethos and it is used as a guiding light, keeping the institution among the most revered in the world.

The deeper meanings of those words are taught to applicants the moment they make the decision to become a Marine. It is reiterated with immense consistency while earning the title Marine aboard either recruit depot. It then becomes a part of who they are during their tenure as a Marine and long after that time ends.

For one applicant from Recruiting Substation Lakewood, those vital traits and attributes were on display long before having the opportunity to become a Marine, but more importantly, when faced with adversity that may have kept her from realizing her dream.

Abby Thomas always knew that she had a calling to serve, however she was not sure what that service would be.

“While in high school I never really had a good grasp on what I wanted to do with my life,” said the 18-year-old, Cleveland native. “I knew that I probably would not be happy with just going to college right away, but there was no real commitment elsewhere.”

When she finally made the decision that the military was for her, the Marine Corps was not her first choice. It was not until her senior year at James Ford Rhodes High School that she became interested in the Marines after other students in her class had made the decision to join the Corps.

It was the first time she had chosen a career that she was committed to, but the journey was almost cut short just as soon as it began.

Excited about her decision, the then 17-year-old, wanted to share the news with her family and friends. It is however, a requirement that those under the age of 18 receive parental consent before joining.

Thomas did not receive that consent.

“I was upset that they were so against it,” Thomas explained.

Not getting parental consent to join the Marine Corps would simply mean that she would just have to wait until she turned 18 and then go forward with the process. Unfortunately, it is not always that simple.

A lot can happen over the length of almost a year. No one would have judged her if she had decided to contact another branch of the military, try her luck out in the work force, or try college life straight out of high school.

However, that is not what she wanted for her life. She had committed herself to becoming a Marine and it felt good. She was going to see it through, even if it meant delaying it for a little while.

Thomas stayed with it. She continued to communicate with her recruiter, showed up to every pool function and prepared so that when it was her time, she would be ready.

“She is one of the hardest working I have,” said Staff Sgt. Donald Roberts Jr., staff noncommissioned officer-in-charge of RSS Lakewood and Thomas’ original recruiter. “(Early on), she could not (exercise) very well, but continued to show up and now passes everything.”

Thomas, who will ship to Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, S.C. in April, said that what made it easier for her to stay committed and motivated was the fact that throughout everything that went on, the recruiters stayed committed to her and continued to work with her on her goal of becoming a Marine.

“I told her and her (family) that I would do everything I could to give her a chance because she committed to becoming a Marine,” said Roberts.

Her hard work has paid off and she will get that chance to earn the title Marine because she held true to the attributes and traits that make United States Marines.

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