HANOVER, Maryland --
About a dozen young men and women gather at a local shopping center at the Marine Corps Recruiting Sub-Station Glen Burnie, Recruiting Station Baltimore, preparing for the challenges of recruit training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, South Carolina.
Some are more prepared then others for recruit training, some have more ground to cover and goals to obtain, but 17-year-old Demetri E. Ramos has covered more ground then his peers.
During the past three years he lost about 90 pounds, starting his journey at 260 pounds and now weighing 170 pounds to be eligible to enlist in the United States Marine Corps.
His stepfather, Robert Haag, challenged him during his freshman year to turn his life around. Haag noticed his stepson would spend many hours every day playing video games in the basement of his house. Haag approached Ramos and challenged him to earn his place on “the wall.”
“There is a big wall in our house that you have to earn your way on,” said Haag. On this wall are six Marine photos that have served or currently serve in the United States Marine Corps.
“My step-father told me if I go from 260 pounds to 180 pounds, he would buy me an Xbox One,” said Ramos, a Severna Park High School native. At first, Ramos was hesitant about the large amount of weight he would have to lose.
Ramos said after eating healthier and spending long hours in the gym with his stepbrother he accomplished his goal.
After graduating high school this past spring, Ramos’ family noticed his accomplishment with weight loss and stepbrother and stepfather, who are both Marines, went with him to visit the local Marine Corps Recruiting Station in Glen Burnie, Maryland, a trip that would change his life forever.
Ramos added he always looked up to and admired the Marines in his family because of their character and values they learned as United States Marines.
“To see the dedication he had before talking to [us] was incredible,” said Gunnery Sgt. Jason Irwin, the commander of the Glen Burnie Marine recruiting office. “You can definitely see the commitment he had to make himself eligible for enlistment, and to take the initial steps of becoming a United States Marine.”
“It wasn’t fun being incapable of doing things because of my weight, or being out of shape and not progressing,” said Ramos. “My motivation initially started with these restrictions and it grew more and more when I continued to lose weight and wanted to continue to make myself better as a person.”
Ramos is scheduled to attend recruit training at the end of this year, and according to Irwin, “he is pumped and ready to go.”
“If you never have confidence in yourself, you’re not going to go anywhere,” Ramos said.