Honoring military service

By Michael Davis

Ever since Joshua Young was a child, he's had a collection of his great-grandfathers military memorabilia.

A garrison cap and two service patches were stored in a shadow box and served as a constant reminder of his service and an inspiration to the younger Young.

When Joshua got to high school, he joined the Naval Junior Reserve Officer's Training Corps. and climbed through the ranks to become the Henry County High School branch's second-in-command.

Service in the military seemed his destiny.

But for Young, there was almost a reluctance to follow that path. It wasn't until after a year-long stint as a marketing major at Valdosta State University that the 20-year-old decided to finally answer the call.

In February, Stan and Eve Young will see their son Joshua off to duty in the United States Marine Corp.

"I spent a year in college and decided it wasn't really what I wanted to do," he said.

That's when he decided to walk into the Jonesboro military recruitment station and enlist.

"He's always had the influence from ROTC and always felt like he needed to go ahead with that," Stan Young said of his son.

Monday, the Youngs gathered at the Jonesboro office of U.S. Rep. David Scott, D-Jonesboro, where Joshua was awarded the First Annual Judge Del Buttrill Award for Honor, Duty and Country.

"We can't say enough of our young men and women in the military and we appreciate your decision so much," Scott told Young.

"It's particularly important as we have so many brave men and women on the battlefield," he said.

Young's decision was particularly poignant in light of the news of the death of Morrow native Sgt. Jonathan B. Shields, who was killed last week during fighting in Iraq.

"We wanted to do something to honor Judge Del Buttrill and (Young) was the candidate that we came up with that best exemplified honor, duty and country," said Mike Lustri, an ex-Marine who helped organized the award effort.

Buttrill, a former Marine himself, has served as Henry County Probate Judge for more than 20 years.

Young's parents beamed with pride in their son's decision to enlist.

"I think he'll make a very good Marine," Eve Young said.

In February, Young will travel to Parris Island, S.C. for 12 weeks of basic training then to Camp Lejuene, N.C. and on to Pensacola, Fla. for a 1 ?-year aviation electronics school.

Young isn't sure where he'll go from there, but he's excited about the journey. "After that, I'll guess I'll be stationed wherever they put me," he said.