Jun 08, 2012
By Deanna Del Ciello
For the past six years, Robin Morales of Woodmere, spent his time either studying, working or training to get to where he is now, a Second Lieutenant in the United States Army.
Morales’ journey began in 2006 after graduating from Hewlett High School with a dream to pursue a major in aviation management and a passion to become a pilot. On a visit to Florida Tech University, he was approached by an ROTC recruiter. “It was an offer I couldn’t let go,” Morales said.
He was intrigued by the program: the possibility of earning a partial scholarship while also being a full time student. The only catch was that after receiving the four year scholarship, Morales was committed to four years of service after being commissioned into the army, a condition that he was willing to take on and take on proudly.
“It gives me a lot of pride to know that I’m actually representing .6 percent of the nation that have committed to give the ultimate sacrifice,” Morales said.
While his journey began in Florida, Morales returned to New York in 2009 for many reasons. The tuition at Florida Tech University became too much to pay even with the scholarship. Dreams of becoming a pilot had to be retired when his vision changed and was no longer sufficient enough to fly planes. But most importantly, Morales had to spend time with his family after his mother died from a long battle with breast cancer, resulting in him taking a leave of absence for a semester.
“People pass away every day but when they’re so close to you it’s different,” Isabel Machuca, Morales’ fiancée, said. The couple met in high school and began dating two months after Morales’ mother died. “I had to be there for his family while he wasn’t there. It was hard but it had to be done. It was definitely a tough road for him because he had a lot of training at the time.”
Machuca has moved around with Morales in order to make their relationship work. “When you care about a person and that’s what they really want to do, you stick around. He loves what he does and I’m proud of him.”
After taking his leave of absence, Morales began attending Farmingdale State College while receiving military training from Hofstra University. “I looked at it as a fresh start but picking up where I left off,” Morales said of returning to school after his mother died. Morales credits his mother with providing him with the qualities he needed to reach his goal of graduating and entering the army.
“Growing up, she always strived to give it her all. No matter what you do, you give it 100 percent regardless of what job or task you’re given. She was known for such an incredible work ethic. Her wisdom was unlike any other. Graduating, I dedicate to her, it was one of her dreams,” Morales said.
The next three years, Morales spent training and working towards his goal of graduating as the first person in his family to attend and graduate from college and the first to join the army.
Morales’ father, Carlos, who still lives in Woodmere, is extremely proud of his son, despite his original hesitation about his choice to join the army.
“At the beginning you always think about wars and all the danger. But since that’s the path he chose, I see the potential he has and I support him a lot. We knew that he wanted to be a leader since he was a little baby. I feel so proud that he made his goals.”
Now that he has graduated and will serve the four years he committed to, Morales intends on making a career out of the army as long as he is “healthy and capable to withstand the duties that the army requires” of him, while always taking into consideration the strain it will put on his family.
“Whatever obstacle comes into my way, I want it give it my all, my best and once I leave that station or whatever I serve, I want to leave it in good hands,” Morales said.
His fiancée is excited for him and plans on supporting him as he begins his career in the army. “Whatever he chooses to do I’ll be there for him. I know he’s going to make it far.”
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