A Soldiers Blog

Search Site search web

Monday, February 02, 2004

15-year-old High School student gets Army Public Service Medal

(FORT SNELLING, Minn.) - As some 300 soldiers, spouses and civilians of the
88th Regional Readiness Command (RRC) were gathering for its annual awards
banquet, so was a young gentleman who was watching all of the activities
with vigor and a little trepidation. Jeremy M. Jenson, 15, a student from St
Francis High School and a resident of Anoka, Minnesota was going to be one
of the award recipients that night.

Having never attended a military function before, Jeremy watched and proudly
participated as the honor guard presented the colors to the Commanding
General, Brigadier General Michael W. Beasley. He listened intently to the
traditional toasts to the nation, its soldiers and spouses, the
Commander-in-Chief, and our fallen comrades which were being given by
soldiers of the 88th RRC. Jeremy knew that within about an hour it would be
his turn to be in the spotlight. As he watched all of the hustle and bustle
of the dinner being served, many soldiers kept interrupting Jeremy to thank
him for his efforts for which he was going to be rewarded for later that
evening. General Officers, Command Sergeants Major and many others of all
ranks were all coming over to Table 1 to see who this young man was whom
everyone was talking about. As he told them his story, many of the soldiers
presented Jeremy their command coins, gave handshakes and words of
appreciation galore.

As the evening progressed and the dinner had barely begun, this young man
kept watching the time. He was waiting for his mom, dad, sister, aunt and
uncle to arrive for the presentation. His cell phone rang to let him know
they had arrived. Jeremy had barely eaten but a few bites of food and wanted
to go off and meet his family. The Colonels at the table said, "just eat
Jeremy, they're not going anywhere." Jeremy was a guest of the Command
during the daylong meeting and spoke to many soldiers from around the
Midwest attending the Commanders conference. As was the case for the most of
the day, Jeremy was getting orders from people he had never met before, all
interested in his well being and to trying to keep the anxiety level down
for this young man. Members of the RRC staff went and found the family, got
them seated right up front and within few minutes the awards portion of the
evening began.

Colonel Razz Waff, the 88th RRC's Chief of Staff got the audience back in
their seats and assembled General Beasley and Command Sergeant Major John
Werner in their places, the awards portion of the evening began.

Awards were given for Soldier of the Year, Noncommissioned Officer of the
Year, Best Maintenance Company, and a few others. Jeremy knew that he was
after the presentation of several $500.00 AUSA (Association of the United
States Army) scholarship awards. As the seconds counted down, Colonel Waff
announced the presentation of a Public Service award to Jeremy M. Jenson,
the next award recipient. Jeremy got a little push on the shoulder and was
told, "We're up."

Accompanied by the Chief Information Officer, Mr. Randall G. Ciechna, who
recommended Jeremy for the award, the two went to the stage as Colonel Waff
started to read a portion of the award nomination. The Chief of Staff also
noted that as far back as anyone could remember, Jeremy was going to be the
youngest recipient of any medal awarded by the Command. Seconds later, as
Jeremy stood proud and a little nervous, Colonel Waff read the award
citation while General Beasley pinned Jeremy with the U. S. Army's
Commander's Award for Public Service.

After the reading of the award citation and pinning of the medal, Jeremy got
a standing ovation from the audience. Over the roar and applause of the
audience, General Beasley could be heard to say, "Not many young men like
you will receive a standing ovation in their life time. You can be extremely
proud of your accomplishments and should cherish this forever. Thanks on
behalf of all the personnel serving in military."

Jeremy was awarded the Commander's Award for Public Service for "his
outstanding efforts and dedication to the wellbeing of soldiers in the 88th
Regional Readiness Command and all other military services. Through Jeremy's
efforts he has lifted the spirit and morale of personnel across the globe by
writing letters, sending care packages, and organizing others, in support of
deployed military personnel. Through his personal dedication and keen desire
to insure our soldiers are recognized for their dedication and sacrifice, he
is awarded this medal." Jeremy and his youth church group, along with some
help from his Aunt Cari sent over 500 letters to deployed personnel of all
the military services and routinely communicates back and forth with many of
them on a regular basis via mail or e-mail.

After the formal close of the awards banquet and the retiring of the colors,
many more soldiers and civilians came over to Jeremy and inundated him with
praise and thanks. Jeremy's immediate family had to wait a few minutes to
even get close to him too share their excitement and praise to their son.
Soldiers who had been deployed were telling him how important it is to
receive mail when they are away from home and told him to keep up his
efforts. After a break in the action, Jeremy took some pictures with four
Purple Heart recipients he had met earlier in the evening and who had been
awarded the Purple Heart for wounds received in action during the current

The evening ended and Jeremy went home with his "Proud Mom," a term she used
in an e-mail which coordinated the event for her son. He also left with the
gratitude and appreciation of several hundred people representing thousands
of soldiers and family members, a pocket full of recognition coins, an award
citation and a medal. It was a day this young man will never forget and
neither will the 88th RRC. Someday Jeremy maybe standing in front of a group
of soldiers and be the receiving officer for the colors of a grateful nation
- you never know.

Prev | List | Random | Next
Powered by RingSurf!