Jeremy Joined the Navy

For most of you, Jeremy’s decision came out of left field. I get it, so let me clarify.

Jeremy has always been interested in military service, but we, rightly or wrongly, assumed that military service was unavailable to Jeremy on account of the moderate hearing loss in his right ear. He was born with a hearing loss and wore hearing aids throughout his earliest years. Eventually, he chose to stop wearing hearing aids, which likely could’ve been the right decision for him in the long run. Throughout middle and high school, he learned to compensate for the hearing loss and ended up graduating high school with a strong GPA, the role of soccer captain, and nearly four years of working part-time.

As he approached graduation, Jeremy’s primary focus was whether or not he could play soccer in college. Despite more than $22,000 in grants and scholarships to a local private college, playing soccer at a Division II school was still not something we or he could afford. Luckily, Tennessee residents have affordable options in higher education, so Jeremy enrolled in our community college to start working on a free two-year degree.

However, to say Jeremy wasn’t excited would be an understatement. I met him at the community college in mid-June so he could take a placement test, and I asked him if he could see himself attending this place in the fall. He shrugged. He had no energy for it. No excitement. Nothing. But, it seemed to be the next right step, so he went along with it.

Things came to a head over Father’s Day weekend. Jeremy was wholly discouraged about his future. Despite being a good student, he didn’t enjoy school, so it was hard to get excited about college when it didn’t involve soccer. Sitting in a classroom for days on end sounded like a punishment.

This is when Chuck brought up the military and suggested Jeremy look into getting a waiver for his hearing loss. Knowing he could be disqualified, Jeremy took the opportunity to go in and ask some questions.

Over the course of two or three weeks, Jeremy took the ASVAB, studied ratings (jobs), and looked at all the options that might be available to him in the Navy. He and I went to see our audiologist, who’s retired Air Force, to take one last hearing test so we could compare it to the Navy’s requirements. It was right on the cut-off line, so we forged ahead.

Then he went to MEPS (Military Entrance Processing Station), which is a two-day process of getting poked and prodded to make sure recruits are fit for service. As the hours ticked away, Jeremy got one confirmation after another. He got a waiver for his hearing, and then he got the rating he wanted: Corpsman. All signs pointed to the Navy. He signed his name and took the oath. By mid-July, it was official. His ship date was August 10.

There’s something you need to understand about Jeremy. When he’s all-in, you know it. You can see it. With soccer, he showed up early and stayed late. He watched videos and talked about it and spent much of his brain energy thinking about it. For more than a decade, he lived and breathed soccer.

Very quickly, we noticed him doing the same with the Navy. He wasted no time wearing the swag, watching videos, showing up early to PT at the recruiter’s office, and initiating conversations about the military with Chuck. (This was a big, y’all.) He was all-in, and it showed.

In fact, in the first weekend after MEPS, he decided on his own to clean out his room and get it organized for his absence. We asked no questions and followed his lead.

Jeremy spent his last month soaking up time with his girlfriend, playing video games, and requesting all of his favorite meals. August 10th arrived sooner than we anticipated, and it just so happened that our Chicago family was in town when it was time to say goodbye.

We are so proud of him. The energy in our house over the last six weeks has been palpable. Jeremy found the direction he wanted to go, and he’s chasing it. He’s at Boot Camp right now, and while it’s hard to not hear from him, we hope and pray he’s doing his best and being brave.

error: Please, no copying.