L.A. native leaves hard knocks to join few, proud
By Lance Cpl. Edward R. Guevara Jr.
| | December 12, 2003
MARINE CORPS RECRUIT DEPOT SAN DIEGO, Calif. --
Young men in today's American society often choose gangs or drugs over education, work and family.
PFC George K. Bhimji, Platoon 3034, Company K, chose his family despite hailing from Watts, Calif., a less-than-desirable Los Angeles neighborhood, which presented the same troubles that landed his brothers in jail.
"It took strength for him not to give in," said Ellary L. Bhimji, his mother. "I always told them, 'Just because we have to live in a neighborhood, doesn't mean we have to be a part of that neighborhood.'"
He persevered through those tough winds by setting goals and wanting more than anything to achieve them - sometimes for himself and sometimes for his family.
"I've learned as long as you don't quit, you are able to get what you want," said the 24 year-old Bhimji.
He had to be an achiever for his family after his father left.
When he was 12, he told his drug-addicted father that he hated him. After this confrontation, he didn't see his father again for six years when he found him in a drug rehabilitation center.
"It made me watch my mouth and not talk back to my mom," said Bhimji.
In addition to learning his father wasn't going to be the provider and role model for his family, Bhimji had to deal with violence and an unhealthy environment as he grew up to be the male role model of his family.
His older, half-brother, was also a bad influence at that time in Bhimji's life.
He finally realized what was going on around him halfway through his teenage years, when his big brother told him what to wear and where to wear it.
"As stupid as it was, I still had to do it so I didn't get shot," said Bhimji.
Keeping safe also required sleeping on the floor sometimes if someone decided to shoot at his house. This was the eldest brother's fault and their mother kicked him out.
Although his brothers would not listen to their mother, he did his best to abide by his mother's rules.
"I did what my mother said," said Bhimji. "I grew up with my mother and could never say no to my mother or argue with her."
It showed in his schooling. His mother was a driving force for his high school success.
"I was the first one in my family to graduate," Bhimji said. "It was a big accomplishment for me to graduate on time."
After high school, he worked to help support his family.
"I worked because I got tired of eating (ramen noodles) every night," he said. "I paid to put food on the table."
Bhimji felt good about taking care of his family because they respected him.
He now has goals for his own family as a Marine.
"I joined the Marine Corps to make sure I had a future," said Bhimji.
He gladly took on the challenge of becoming a Marine for his 4-month-old son, George K. Bhimji IV, and his girlfriend.
He pushed himself through all the tough training times by thinking of his family.
"I didn't want to go home as a failure to my family," he said.
His mother said she rented a van to bring family members along to see Bhimji graduate today after three months of training.