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Marines

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U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Jeffrey Stike, a heating, ventilation and air conditioner (HVAC) operator mechanic with 4th Combat Engineer Battalion, 4th Marine Division, enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserve in 2021 and graduated boot camp in 2022. He is a native of White Hall, Maryland, and graduated North Harford High School in 2018.

Photo by COMMSTRAT

Lose to Win, A Marine's Journey to Serve

26 Jul 2023 | Cpl. Ryan Schmid U.S. Marine Corps Forces Reserve

“I knew if I quit, the thought of ending up where I started was worse than enduring the pain and the journey of evolving.” U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Jeffrey Stike, a heating, ventilation and air conditioner (HVAC) operator mechanic with 4th Combat Engineer Battalion, 4th Marine Division, enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserve in 2021 and graduated boot camp in 2022. He is a native of White Hall, Maryland, and graduated North Harford High School in 2018.

“From a young age, I was always interested in the Marine Corps. They were the first branch I went to go talk to when I wanted to change my life. I knew they were the best and I wanted to be a part of the best.” said Stike.

However, his journey to becoming a Marine wasn’t an easy feat. Embarking on a transformative journey often requires immense dedication, perseverance and an unwavering spirit.

“I started coping my stress with eating, and as a result I gained a lot of weight. I was weighing in at 300 pounds when I graduated,” Stike said.

In his case case, shedding more than100 pounds became an extraordinary personal feat, showcasing his incredible power of determination and the pursuit of a lifelong dream.

“I started walking up the road outside my house every day, about a mile, and gradually lost weight and then I was able to start jogging and then sprinting.” said Stike “I was able to do it regularly and upped the miles.”

“The hard work, the work ethic, and discipline expected of Marines appealed to me and it motivated me to incorporate that into my life”.Lance Cpl. Jeffrey Stike, 4th Combat Engineer Battalion, 4th Marine Division

The weight loss journey was not merely a matter of aesthetics, but essential for joining the Marine Corps Reserve. Realizing the need for significant lifestyle changes, Stike adopted a holistic approach, which encompassed healthy eating, regular exercise and unwavering discipline.

For Stike, weight loss is as much a mental journey as it is a physical one. He exhibited exceptional mental fortitude, establishing a resilient mindset that fueled their progress.

“The hard work, the work ethic, and discipline expected of Marines appealed to me and it motivated me to incorporate that into my life.” He confronted setbacks and plateaus with determination, persevering through moments of doubt and self-criticism. “I’m just trying to be the person I imagined myself to be, to continue, to evolve and grow. I’m constantly moving and I just desire to keep improving myself.” said Stike.

Through unwavering dedication, he transformed each challenge into an opportunity for growth, proving that the mind, when honed, can triumph over any obstacle.

A journey of this magnitude necessitates a robust support system, which he found with his recruiter, Staff Sgt. Thomas Wilson. “I found a recruiter (who) helped me with the process and I joined the Marine Corps Reserve. He kept me motivated and got me through some dark times when I was questioning if I even wanted to be a Marine.” said Sike.

Staff Sgt. Wilson provided much needed encouragement, guidance and accountability. Additionally, Stike surrounded himself with other people in the program, like-minded individuals striving to becoming a Marine. The camaraderie and shared experiences within this network reinforced their resolve, creating an environment conducive to sustained success.

Lose to Win, A Marine's Journey to Serve Photo by COMMSTRAT
U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Jeffrey Stike, a heating, ventilation and air conditioner (HVAC) operator mechanic with 4th Combat Engineer Battalion, 4th Marine Division, enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserve in 2021 and graduated boot camp in 2022. He is a native of White Hall, Maryland, and graduated North Harford High School in 2018.

Beyond the physical transformations, Stike underwent a profound journey of self-discovery. “Something I would advise someone on the same journey is that even if the goal isn’t what you end up doing, continuing to move forward and changing paths is better than staying still and remaining in the same place you were at.”

As he shed the weight that had burdened him for years, he uncovered an inner resilience, unyielding determination and a newfound belief in their own abilities. This transformation extended beyond the physical realm, leaving an indelible mark on his character and identity.

Through unwavering determination, a resilient mindset, and the support of loved ones, Stike overcame tremendous obstacles to lose more than 100 pounds and realize their lifelong dream. “I’m going to take it one day at a time now, continue to push myself and grow and we’ll see what happens in the future,” he said.