On July 3, Young Marine Elliott Trzasko of Wellington was promoted to YM/MSgt in a ceremony at the Marine Corps Reserve Center in West Palm Beach. Trzasko joined the Young Marines, an after school and weekend club for youth ages 8 to 18, as a recruit about three years ago.
After taking a leisurely eight months to rise from private to private first class, he decided to take the program more seriously. Trzasko took on the call to live a healthy lifestyle and began his own regular workout regimen. He also took on the call to be more disciplined and applied it to learning and working through the Young Marines’ materials. He was impressed by the ribbons and rank earned by the unit’s senior Young Marine but thought that rank was out of his reach, since he joined at a much older age than others.
However, Trzasko began to focus his energy on winning awards, participating in some of the many training and other activities, including camping trips to Georgia and Ohio, leadership schools in central Florida and Texas, and parades throughout Palm Beach County and in Washington, D.C. He learned first aid and CPR, how to build shelters to sleep in, the dangers of drug consumption and how to train other youth about them. The discipline taught through marching and physical fitness training gradually began to show in Trzasko’s demeanor and behavior, and he rose through the ranks, surpassing his original goal that had seemed impossible when he first joined.
As the senior Young Marine, he has learned to organize and lead many activities, supervising other young people who, in turn, direct those of lower rank as they work together on a variety of projects. In their current conservation project, they are learning about Florida’s environment and ways to preserve it.
Foye Belyea, a Marine who now works as a pastor and volunteers as the unit commander of the Young Marines of the Palm Beaches, and Richard Wesolowski, an EMT and paramedic who volunteers as the unit’s executive officer, awarded Trzasko a certificate and chevrons to recognize his hard work and the progress he has made.
For more information about the Young Marines of the Palm Beaches, visit www.palmbeachym.org.