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Photo provided by Ryan Hermanson

RLHS grad Ryan Hermanson's boot camp graduation picture.

Hermanson: Hometown Hero

Ryan Hermanson, a 2016 graduate of Round Lake Senior High School (RLHS), sets a great example for students from our area.

December 6, 2016

During his freshman year of high school, young Ryan Hermanson sat in an assembly and watched some Marines go against Round Lake High School students in a pull-up competition. Hermanson remembers looking at those Marines and envisioning himself in uniform, and he credits that moment with changing him as an individual. Ever since that day four years ago, Hermanson has strived to have the pride, confidence, and the title of a United States Marine.

Ryan Hermanson was tired of people from his community calling his generation lazy.  “I experienced what older people thought about the new generation of kids growing up in society,” he said. “Them looking down upon us and saying that we are a lazy generation. That is what changed me and made me want to become something better— to show them that there are still people out there that want to strive for success and will work hard to get there.”

After that realization, Ryan Hermanson began taking action. He got involved with the Marine Corps and began to physically prepare himself for the long journey that was ahead of him. He devoted his time to building the best possible version of himself, while balancing academics and his social life. He received guidance from his sister’s fiance, who kept him on the right track and provided him with advice and a good example to follow. “My sister’s fiance influenced me greatly because I always looked up to him,” Hermanson said appreciatively. “He showed me what you can get in life through hard work and dedication.”

This strong-willed student graduated last May and came into the real world to accomplish his dreams and do great, honorable things, disregarding all the negativity many from our young generation have to face. He began boot camp in June 2016, and graduated three months later in September with the title of a United States Marine. He’s living his biggest dream and doing exactly what he’s always wanted—proving all those who had doubts wrong.

By becoming a Marine, Hermanson is not only supporting his community, but his country as well, an opportunity that can only be afforded by joining the Marine Corps, and, Hermanson said, serving his country is worth all the pain and discomfort he received in training. After all, serving in the military is not an easy job, and without the deeply-rooted dedication Hermanson has for his work, being a Marine would be impossible “The hardest part in becoming a United States Marine was more mental than physical,” he said. “They constantly break you down into nothing and build you back up from the bottom. Mentally, you don’t think you or your body will make it, but then you do. And you realize you’re more capable than you ever imagined.”

During the process of becoming a Marine, Hermanson did have those hard days where he was homesick, where he lacked self-confidence, and wasn’t sure of himself and the choices he made. But he found support and was able to confide in those closest to him to help reassure him that he could get through it. “There were many important relationships that helped me through this,” Hermanson explained. “My family always telling me that I could make it and that they believed in me. And my best friend from back home. I would get homesick, she would be right there to give me the motivation to push on.”

All the while, his family has stayed supportively and lovingly at his side throughout this important time of his life. “My admiration of Ryan grows immensely every single day,” his older sister, Brittney, said warmly.

Hermanson’s friends and family back home were not the only ones that helped him get through the difficulties of boot camp. “The way that I coped [with the hard times] was through my brothers to the left and to the right of me,” he said.“They helped me get through a lot of rough times in the becoming of a United States Marine.”

Ryan Hermanson never gives up and does whatever he can to get through even the hardest situations. He always makes sure to take his time and assess his problems and make sure that he is going about the solution the right way. After all, patience is key—according to Hermanson, if you’re going to make a change, it’s important to know your end goal and that it will take time.  “Just know the grass is greener on the other side,” he said. “And to always be patient even though it would seem like you would need to be in a hurry.”

The United States Marines have a slogan, “The few. The proud. The Marines.” Regardless of the previous hardships Hermanson experienced, he truly believes that his hard work is well worth the rewards he will receive in the end. He has joined an elite group of Americans, the strongest of the strong, and the bravest of the brave. Hermanson’s pride is easy to see in his Marine Corps graduation picture: his eyes wide with courage, his mouth sealed with devotion, his stature still with strength, his shoulders bearing a newfound fortitude. The picture clearly shows a young man eager and prepared to protect his country.

“The most rewarding part of this whole experience would have to be getting that Eagle, Globe, and Anchor at the top of the reaper and finally earning the title of a United States Marine,” Hermanson said with great pride.

Looking into the future, Hermanson still has a long road ahead of him, but he has no regrets regarding his career choices. He knows he made the right decision for himself and his life.“One thing that I look forward to is having a big family with a nice house and a secure job,” Hermanson said. “The Marines will give me financial stability throughout my life and allow me to live a healthy life.”

Who would have known that a single pep assembly would change young Hermanson, and outline his entire future, turning him into the young man he has grown to be? No one could have known, but he kept his eyes open for inspiration and sought the right motivation. Hermanson knew that he had it in him to make his life something he would be proud of. He also knew, he had the power to make his generation something to be proud of by making home a better place everyday, and by always improving himself. “Everything gets better in the end as long as you keep striving for more and want to become a better you than you were yesterday, always looking on the bright side,” Hermanson said.

5 Comments

5 Responses to “Hermanson: Hometown Hero”

  1. Tracy Sommerfeld on December 6th, 2016 8:37 pm

    We are so proud of Ryan and his accomplishment so far. We never doubted his ability to become a Marine. His drive and commitment told us he would make it all the way. We know he has a great future ahead of him and support him 100%. Great job Ryan!
    Uncle Herb and Aunt Tracy

  2. Kathleen Jones on December 7th, 2016 8:08 am

    This article about a stong, dedicated young man should be a sense of pride and admiration to his family and all. I am one of those people.
    The writer of this piece is also someone to be proud of for delvering such an insightful picture of Ryan.

  3. Amanda Duncan on December 7th, 2016 7:23 pm

    I’ve known Ryans family since they lived up the street from me 12 years ago. We lived on the corner of 1007 Idlewild. We moved over 9 years ago. . Your family are wonderful people.. Ryan I am so proud of you . Being a Marine is becoming a hero from a small town. That’s exactly what you are. You will go on to inspire many young men like you were sitting in those bleachers. I don’t know if you remember my oldest daughter Destiny Liam Caley but she is leaving for boot camp for the NAVY on March 1st. I’m so proud that you are showing and proving your generation is NOT lazy! You’re smart strong and want to serve this country with pride. Congratulations I’m so proud of you! Good luck with your future☺
    ~Amanda

  4. Christopher Hermanson on December 7th, 2016 8:57 pm

    I’m so proud to call him my brother and be able to look up to him for support and help threw everything . I said once I started freshmen year ,I wanted to be jsut like him with all this motivation and dedication he has to making the world better. I remember when growing up together he always said he wanted to do something big and be a marine and change the world for the good . Now he is the most amazing person for doing what he wanted to do in life and putting so much hard work into what he has become . Love you Ryan Hermanson! Brothers for life

  5. Pete Szmurlo on December 8th, 2016 7:14 am

    An inspirational story of a proud young man that is investing in his future by dedicating his time, body and mind to an elite group that shapes young lives into bright futures. We hear so many negatives about kids these days that allegedly lack discipline, punctuality, respect and a lack of what they want to be in the future. As a parent and a role model to some, I truly wish that Ryan’s story would be an example of the choices we all have….Great choices available to all of us with inspiring dreams for our youth and the future of this country. Thank you Ryan Hermanson!

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