The young men, with an average age of 19, stood smartly at attention as Brig. Gen. James Bierman presented the latest group of warriors to grandstands full of proud family members and friends.
Spring Lake High School graduate Spencer Proefrock was part of the group smartly attired in dress blues with khaki shirts and white covers (hats). Most importantly, their covers were decorated with the emblem of the Eagle, Globe and Anchor they had received after completing The Crucible the week before.
All these men represented the core values of honor, courage and commitment, Bierman told the crowd.
The new Marines paraded before the crowd before being dismissed to their respective families.
A day earlier, these young Marines saw their family members for the first time since starting boot camp more than three months ago.
“I’m relieved a little bit,” Spencer said as he reconnected with his parents and grandparents following the ceremony. “I’m excited to get ready and get started in the next step.”
“I’m speechless,” said his mother, Jennifer Zervas, grinning from ear to ear. “All I can think about is when he was little and how far he’s come.”
His father, Mike Proefrock, said it has been difficult having his son away for so long after being around for 18 years.
“I had a feeling of tremendous pride” when Spencer announced he wanted to be a Marine, Mike said. “You also have the fear of the unknown.”
Mike said Spencer was quite mature prior to heading for boot camp. Still, he’s noticed his son has a certain discipline that he didn’t have before.
Zervas noted that her son turned his life around in high school.
“I don’t worry about him like a lot of parents worry about their kids,” she said.
Spencer originally enlisted in the Marine Corps in July 2012, but said he became more engaged with his faith and pulled back. He re-enlisted this past November.
“I still felt the call to serve,” he said. “If something happens, I want to go out there and fight for my country. I feel that God has called me to do that.”
To read the whole story, see Saturday’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.