It probably helped Susie Mendoza’s nerves when she received a letter from her son Lance Mendoza telling her that he and his Northwood buddies Brandon Bugbee and Ronnie Koch are in the same platoon while in U.S. Marines basic training.
But all of the parents of four Northwood graduates won’t deny they were nervous about their sons’ decisions to enter the Marines.
Susie and husband Jesse Mendoza say they made good use of the blessing ceremony at Hope Community Church Labor Day weekend.
“We just gave him hugs and kisses, I guess. He doesn’t need to pack. He can’t take anything with him,” Susie said. I’ve got mixed emotions. They’re running high.”
“It was very nice,” Debbie Koch said. Debbie and Marty Koch are U.S. Marine Ronnie Koch parents.
U.S. Marine Brandon Bugbee's parents are Brant and Lisa Bugbee
“I’m excited but nervous,” Lisa Bugbee said. “I know they are doing something good. It’s a start for a future career, and they are going to defend their country and that’s an awesome thing to do. At the same time, he’s my only son and it makes me nervous. I think it’s a great task, you know. He’s not ready to go to college right now so I think this is a great other choice.
Susie Mendoza says Lance is planning to use his military training to set himself up for a career.
“He wants to follow in his dad’s footsteps,” Susie said. “His dad is a master steamfitter (plumber/pipefitter) for Local 50, and Lance wants to be the same thing — and that’s the way we thought he was going to go — get into the apprenticeship program. He decided he wanted to do it through the military. That really took us for a throw.
“All he’ll have to do is just take the test (after military service) and he’ll be able to get in. That’s it,” Susie continued. “My husband and I are very proud of him, but just kind of taken back by his decision. We’re supporting him 100 percent. I mean, you have to, they are your kids.”
Susie says it’s better than hanging around the house for the next five years...becoming what many term today as a “slacker.”
“I think that’s what would have happened had he not joined the military. He made the decision on his own and it wasn’t anything we did to push him into,” Susie added. “We are all very proud of what the young men are sacrificing for our freedom.”