This blog post is part of a series saluting our graduating scholars. As we celebrate their impact on America’s future during Military Appreciation Month, today we’re featuring a post written by one of our scholars, Brandon Lee Lunsford, a graduating senior at the Virginia Military Institute from Jacksonville, North Carolina.
I come from a military family. My father is an active duty member of the U.S. Marine Corps, my mother is a U.S. Navy veteran and my grandfather is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, who served throughout the Vietnam War. This long lasting commitment and service to our country has created an unbreakable bond within my immediate family. The sense of trust and support that the Marine and Navy Corps instills in its service members is woven throughout my family tree, and at a young age, I knew these were the values I wanted to embody – I knew I wanted to be a Marine.
Prior to my sophomore year of high school, I had not considered attending a college or university. For years, I thought I would enlist and begin my service to this country at the age of 18. However, during my sophomore year of high school, my football coaches noticed my leadership potential and encouraged me to consider becoming an officer. With their influence and my family’s extended pledge to this nation, I decided to attend college, so I could become an officer and lead and encourage fellow Marines the same way my family and coaches had led and encouraged me.
As I complete my final year at the Virginia Military Institute (VMI), and I prepare to graduate, I know that if it weren’t for my parents, coaches and VMI colleagues, I would not be the leader, brother and Marine I am today. My four years at VMI were filled with challenges and obstacles, but I was able to endure them and evolve into a leader, because of their unwavering support.
The Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation has also helped to guide and support me throughout my four years at VMI. The Foundation awarded me a four-year academic scholarship, which alleviated a lot of the financial stress associated with attending an out of state academic institution. If it weren’t for the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation, I would not have been able to attend the institution of my choice and pursue my dreams of becoming a U.S. Marine Corps Officer.
I am proud to say that because of the endless support I have received over the last several years, I was recently commissioned as a U.S. Marine Corps Officer. Knowing that I will have the opportunity to both lead and command Marines of such a high caliber is one of the greatest things I will ever accomplish.
Growing up, my parents always encouraged me to pursue my goals, to give back and to serve – I hope I make them as proud as they’ve made me.