BLOOMINGTON, Minn. -- Two Bloomer, Wis., graduates received the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps Scholarship this year; an achievement only one other high school in 9th Marine Corps District can claim.
Recruiting Station Twin Cities Commanding Officer Maj. Kenneth Gawronski and Sgt. Cody Stauner presented Levi Nayes and Jacob Zwiefelhofer with a check for $180,000 during an awards ceremony recently.
"Out of 27,000 high schools in the U.S., roughly 300 received scholarships," Gawronksi said. "That's essentially one per every 90 and they got two."
Including Nayes and Zwiefelhofer, who are both three-sport athletes, only ninety-seven students made up the Blackhawks' 2012 graduating class.
"It's a testament to the parents of this town and the Bloomer faculty," said Stauner, a recruiter out of the Eau Claire, Wis., office.
According to Gawronski, their decision to serve originated long before they began the scholarship application process.
"Levi's brother is currently serving in Afghanistan and Jacob enlisted in the Delayed Entry Program last year," he said. "In fact, Zwiefelhofer would have shipped to boot camp next month."
The aspiring Marines will start classes at the University of Minnesota and University of Wisconsin this fall.
"Some might argue they did it for the money, but that's not the case," Gawronski explained. "They wanted to take that path less traveled and accomplish something few ever will; becoming an officer in the United States Marine Corps."