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    Son Follows Father's Bootsteps



    Story by Sgt. Elise Moore 

    29th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

    Joining the military for so many is about seeking out new opportunities, developing a more refined sense of self, or serving a greater purpose. In addition to these important things, one of the Maryland National Guard’s newest recruits is seeking a stronger bond with his father by following his footsteps of service in the 58th Expeditionary Military Intelligence Brigade.

    Pfc. Dylan Zdunowski, a 17-year old high school senior who enlisted during the COVID-19 pandemic, mentioned learning useful skills for future opportunities in the civilian workplace as a motivating factor for joining.

    Dylan is scheduled to begin basic combat training in the summer of 2021 after graduating high school. He was able to enlist as a private first class due to his enrollment in the Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps program at Easton High School in Easton, Maryland.

    For the first period of the day, Dylan attends NJROTC before being bussed back to his regular high school, North Caroline High School in Ridgely, Maryland. Outside of class, he enjoys spending time learning code and building computers.

    Dylan was introduced to military life through his father, Lt. Col. Brian Zudnowski, an intelligence officer currently deployed to Afghanistan with the 58th EMIB. He recalls attending many ‘Take Your Daughters and Sons to Work’ days and other military events throughout his life. Over time, Dylan was able to learn about military culture and what it meant to serve. With his father’s support, he made the decision to dedicate himself to service as well.

    “If I didn’t trust in this organization to do right by you I wouldn’t have highly encouraged you to follow your aspirations of doing this,” said Lt. Col. Brian Zdunowski as he addressed his son on a video call.

    The Zdunowski family lives in Denton, Maryland, on a six-horse farm where Dylan’s responsibilities include tending to the animals and their property. While Dylan has many responsibilities and interests, the military is now offering him even more opportunities for personal and intellectual growth.

    “I’m hoping that he gets a lot of skills and hands on training,” said Suzann Zdunowski, Dylan’s mother. “I know the things that they’re going to be doing with him are things that he is going to love to do. I’m also excited that he is going to get civilian skills.”

    Through those limited glimpses of his father’s life in uniform growing up, Dylan was able to maintain a positive attitude and resilience. This was especially helpful in moments when his father was unable to discuss details of his day-to-day work due to operational security concerns or when he would need to leave for lengthy periods of time while on deployments.

    During his father’s current deployment, Dylan and his mother were able to join Maj. Gen. Timothy E. Gowen, the adjutant general for Maryland, on a video call to applaud the Zdunowski family’s legacy of service in the MDNG.

    “From the bottom of my heart and the bottom of everyone’s hearts in Maryland, thank you for your sacrifice,” Gowen said to the Zdunowski family.

    While speaking to his father on a video call, Dylan expressed his gratitude to his father for his service to their family and the military.

    “Thank you for always being there for us when we needed you,” said Dylan while speaking to his father on the video call. “But of course our whole country needs you as well which is why you are deployed right now. We will patiently await your return back on the farm.”



    Date Taken: 06.24.2020
    Date Posted: 06.30.2020 08:20
    Story ID: 372859
    Location: MD, US

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