It’s also not a path that 2010 Louisa County High School graduates Megan Forrest, Hannah Best and Gunnar Carroll necessarily saw themselves on when they tossed their caps in the air four years ago. But now, as they look back at their decisions and then ahead to their careers in their chosen branch – Forrest in the Navy, Best and Carroll in the Army – all three share a determination worth applauding and a bravery deserving of respect.
“I’m not only giving my time to my nation and my country, I’m giving it to my family and friends,” said Best, who is in the early stages of active duty as a second lieutenant.
“I’m doing something that affects people in a positive way, and I don’t think you can beat that,” added Carroll, who will begin Ranger School next year.
“Joining the military seemed like a no-brainer response to serving my God, my country and my family– it’s the very least I could do for all that’s been given to me,” Best, an Ensign in the Navy, said.
Their stories are different, but entwined by a familiar theme of discovery and growth. Carroll, an all-district player of the year for Louisa, readily admits he went to West Point with an aim at playing baseball. Strikeouts, not necessarily structure, were on his mind.
“To be quite honest, I kind of backed into [the military],” Carroll said. “I was looking for an opportunity to play baseball in college. I really hadn’t considered serving.”
And while Carroll thrived on diamond – he served as a team captain his final two years – he found himself enjoying similar feeling of camaraderie off of the field as well.
“I met all the people [at Army] and saw what it was all about, what they do each day and their values and I really fell in love with it,” Carroll said.
For that reason, Caroll has chosen to remain in the military upon his recent graduation. In January, he’ll head to Fort Sill in Oklahoma to train as a field artillery officer before moving on to Fort Benning in Georgia to begin Ranger School.
To read the entire story, see the July 3 edition of The Central Virginian.