News: Loss of parents leads Parris Island graduate to new family in the Corps
Story by Cpl. Caitlin Brink
PARRIS ISLAND, S.C. – After the death of both his parents in the last five years, one young man sought to make them proud by joining a different kind of family.
Pvt. Robert Perry, Platoon 3090, Kilo Company, 3rd Recruit Training Battalion, said he hoped joining the Marine Corps would help better his life, and earning the Eagle, Globe and Anchor was something his mother would be proud of.
“When I was about to start high school my mom was diagnosed with cancer,” said Perry, 18, from Hilliard, Ohio. “She had cancer all through my eighth grade year and all through that summer.”
His mother passed away two weeks before he began high school. The loss devastated the then 14-year-old. He walked through the halls feeling empty and depressed, going through the motions when he should have been enjoying high school.
“I didn’t want to go to school on the first day,” said Perry. “I just wanted to stay home. My sisters made me go to school. I was there but I wasn’t really there. I was kinda just like empty, just sitting there going through the day not really paying attention to anything.”
Wanting to do something productive with his life and for his family, Perry spoke with military recruiters, quickly gravitating toward the Corps.
“The brotherhood is what drew me toward the Marine Corps,” said Perry, “Family is very important to me.”
When Perry’s sophomore year rolled around his grades began to rise as he got back into the swing of things thanks to the support he received from family and friends. But during the third quarter of the school year, his father suffered a fatal heart attack.
The following year, Perry also lost his grandfather. The rapid losses to his family motivated him become the man he knew he could be.
“It’s amazing how far he’s come. We’re all extremely proud of him,” said Shara Perry, Robert Perry’s older sister. “I believe both our parents would support Robert in his decisions to take hold of his future. Our mom would be worried about him, but what mom wouldn’t be?”
Perry’s brother-in-law and sister-in-law, both in the Air Force, tried to convince him that the Marine Corps was not the best path, but Perry’s heart was already set.
“I was like, ‘that’s not my life style; yeah you may think it’s easier but my life style hasn’t been easy,’” said Perry. “The Marine Corps was the best way for me to go.”
Perry hopes to quickly rise in the ranks as a leader of Marines and eventually become an engineer of some type. Perry is scheduled to graduate with Kilo Company on Nov. 22, 2013.
“This is a chance to really showcase his strengths,” said Shara Perry. “He has endured so much even at 18 that people don’t see. Joining the Marines is a testament to how strong he is and how he can persevere through things. He felt a calling to the Marines and we completely support that. We saw it coming and we are so proud of him.”