By Faran Fagen
Charles Dion, a Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School senior, has enlisted in the United States Marine Corps.
With over 250 service hours caring for rescue dogs, four years on the MSD football team, and four years as a wrestler, Charles has maintained a 3.5 GPA while holding down a part-time job.
The Wyndham Lakes resident hopes to become a helicopter crewman and is inspired by his father, Paul, who served in the Marines and was also a high school wrestler and football player.
“I chose the Marines because I wanted to be part of something greater than myself, and I wanted to travel the world,” Charles said.
The 18-year-old will be stationed in Parris Island, S.C., where he will attend boot camp. He would like to learn to become a helicopter crewman.
“Charles is most proud of being able to play two sports in school while maintaining a 3.5 GPA and holding down a part-time job,” said his mother, AnnMarie Dion, adding that Charles believes these skills will be necessary for maintaining the readiness and safety of the United States.
The main impetus for the Coral Springs resident to enlist came from his father, who now works as an aircraft mechanic with Delta Airlines.
Charles was also greatly influenced by retired Col. Mark Andres, who runs the JROTC program, and retired Sergeant Major Daniel Sanchez, the assistant wrestling coach.
When Charles hesitates on the mat, coach Sanchez tells him, “Be at the ready.”
He stays in shape while working out with his twin brother, Vincent Dion, who is obtaining his pilot’s license, and his football teammate, Jacob Hunter. He also enjoys mixing it up with his dad, brother, and friends on the golf course and enjoys the Florida beaches and traveling.
Outside of school, Charles is very proud of his work with numerous rescue organizations, fostering, training, and caring for multiple rescue dogs.
“The Marines say they are looking for ‘A Few Good Men,’” AnnMarie said. “Well, as the people who raised him, we can definitely say they got a good man. We will always be proud of him, and I know the country will be proud of him.”
- Faran Fagen, who teaches high school journalism, graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Journalism degree and from Florida Atlantic University with a degree in Education. He's worked at The Palm Beach Post, SunSentinel, and MLB.com. He lives in Coral Springs with his wife and two children. Oh, and his three dogs -- who all think that they're his favorite.
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