In a ceremony held Feb. 20 at the Navy Operational Support Center in West Palm Beach, Elliott Trzasko, 17, of Wellington, was promoted to Young Marines Staff Sergeant and presented with two prestigious awards. Young Marines Battalion Commander Louis Slagle and Battalion Adjutant Cindy Townsend were present to congratulate Trzasko on his accomplishments.
Trzasko earned the Conservation Award with the completion of a multi-phase project that included researching and reporting on local Florida wildlife, growing plants, building a birdhouse, interviewing a conservation professional about activities young people can engage in to help with local conservation efforts, and volunteering with Friends of Palm Beach to plant sea oats to prevent beach erosion. He also researched and composed an essay on the Everglades National Park, its flora and fauna, its history, educational mission, and conservation efforts.
Trzasko earned the DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) Device for the Drug Demand Reduction Ribbon after hours of learning and sharing knowledge about the dangers of various drugs and the need to stay addiction-free. After completing Project Alert online training on how to teach drug education to teens, he first taught his fellow Young Marines on multiple occasions. Trzasko then manned a table with drug education literature at Okeeheelee Middle School’s lunch periods on multiple days, discussing the materials with students and staff. He worked with others in his Young Marines unit to educate the public through games, discussion and literature at public events. He also taught six full-length combined classes at Okeeheelee Middle School about the short-term and long-term effects of addiction and positive ways to deal with negative peer pressure.
The Young Marines of the Palm Beaches is chartered through the Marine Corps League. Learn more at www.palmbeachym.org.