12-year-old Nathan has never let his cardiac condition interfere with his hope of one day becoming a U.S. Marine, like his brother. This deep, personal connection has inspired his desire to experience military life first-hand.
At first it seemed to Nathan that his wish would be impossible but the Make-A-Wish volunteers, in cooperation with the U.S. Marines, found a way to make it happen. Nathan and his entire family – including his parents, uncle, brother and sister – soon found themselves on their way to Camp Pendleton in San Diego, heading for a unique and meaningful adventure.
Upon arriving at Camp Pendleton, a Marine Corps welcoming committee greeted Nathan and presented him with his own uniform. Nathan then spent the day as a Marine, which included riding in a “mine resistant ambush protected vehicle”, driving a bulldozer, disabling weapons and learning about explosives. Especially intrigued by the explosives, Nathan earned a merit badge for that specialty. The day ended with an official Marine ceremony in which Nathan walked with the troops and received an award for his participation.
Since that day, Nathan’s wish to become a Marine has been not only a wonderful memory but an ongoing motivation to continue pursuing his dreams. According to his family, the experience changed his character by helping him develop a sense of personal pride and recognize his own strength. Now Nathan is even firmer in his commitment to fight his condition and not let it stand in the way of achieving his goals. Nathan’s mother says, “You could see the genuine joy he had. To see him smile with such confidence in himself was a gift.”
In fact, Nathan’s wish has helped him believe that anything is possible. He continues striving to become a Marine, drive tanks, serve as an aide to the General, and even fulfill his ultimate dream of working on the Presidential detail.
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