At the time I met Sgt. Lannie Reynolds, my recruiter, I was working at Wal-Mart Supercenter #264 in Dickson, Tennessee. As a matter of fact, that is where I met Sgt. Reynolds on 2-13-98. I was the head of department #90. While working a pallet of dairy goods, I was approached by Sgt. Reynolds. He was immaculate in his dress blues, and his personality commanded my respect.

He introduced himself and gave me his card. I told him I was rather busy. He said to think it over and drop by his office after I got off of work and he would give me some information to ponder. I just agreed with him so he would go, but as that long day wore on, I seriously began to think about joining the armed forces. I did not know why then (I sure thought I did though) why I began to contemplate such a brash move, but now hindsight allows me to understand better why. Working such a lowly and menial job as I had and then seeing such a stark contrast in the immaculate Marine that approached me made me think that I was wasting away without using my talents. I felt like a failure when compared to the Marine. I wanted my family and my girlfriend of two+ months to be proud of me, and for me to be proud of myself. I wanted to see the world. I wanted to make a life for my Stacy and I. I was looking for a fresh start. From what? I was running away from one of the biggest mistakes of my life. Even though I loved Stacy with all my heart, I fell to temptation when my friend Tracy, whom I had had a crush on for over a year, seduced me one night at my house. I tried to rectify in my own mind the events. I tried to rationalize it all, but I could not totally escape the hell I had created for myself. I could not hurt Stacy by telling her of my foolish actions, so I chose flight. I ran. I was looking for a way to escape the situation, and of course the Marines were there to take me in.

I did go by Sgt. Reynolds's office later that day after working ten hours. We talked for several hours, and before I left that night I had filled out most of the beginning paperwork. I did my IST (Initial Strength Test) soon after. I ran the mile and one half in 11:00 minutes, 6 pullups, and 50 pullups. Once the background checks were complete, I was on my way to the Nashville MEPS station.