YM/SgtMaj Mario Koch, 17, of Ohio, has been named the Young Marine of the Year at the annual Young Marines Adult Leadership Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada. This honor will allow him to tour other units in the United States and meet other young marines, as well as to assist World War II veterans in the yearly Reunion of Honor trip to Guam and Iwo Jima during the fall.
Mario Koch thanked his fellow Division Young Marines of the Year as he accepted the award, saying that his experience in the organization has been shaped and made better by the cooperation and friendship he has made with his peers.
“My goal is to create relationships that I have had in the program and to make sure that every young marine that I meet I can inspire, and that they can have a better experience than I had,” said Koch in his acceptance speech.
Koch was introduced to Young Marines when he witnessed their parade while he was a little boy. He recalled the experience as one of admiration and excitement, and that he wanted to be a part of that. A year later, he joined the Greater Cleveland Young Marines from Fairview Park, Ohio, and has been a devoted member since.
The Young Marines is a non-profit organization that provides education and service to boys and girls around the United States. Members can be as young as 8 years old and as old as 18. The organization promotes physical, mental, and moral development for youth by teaching leadership, cooperation, and discipline, as well as a drug-free lifestyle.