Jessica Pak graduated ALJ in 2014. She joined the military because it had been her dream since she was a little girl. Her grandfather was a Marine from 1948-1952. Jess said, “The way he stood and presented himself until the day he passed, made me want to be a part of the elite fighting force.”
At ALJ Jess was an officer for Key Club three years, where she was interested in giving back to the community. Joining the military seemed like the next logical step.
Jess graduated boot camp October 24th, 2014 as a squad leader and a private first class. “Boot camp was nothing for me growing up with a tough family and being on cross country and track and field.”
Commenting on her deployment, Jess said, “The best part of joining is that I'm doing what I love, welding and helping others in their community.” Her first deployment from Japan was to the Philippines where she worked to build a 75’ bridge for a humanitarian project.
Jess soon became friendly with children from the nearby town. “I became really close with the Saavedra family. Their two sons Raquem and Jay practically became my sons the three weeks spent in the Philippines.
Joking around, they would call her“Momma Pak.” They watched her work and they taught her their culture. According to Jess there is tremendous poverty in the Philippines. “I bought the two boys and their younger brother shoes and socks. A group of Marines also bought them soccer balls and basketballs.”
In addition, even grade school education is not free in the village. Jess was able to sponsor six children for the upcoming school year. She hopes to continue the relationship and find other ways to help the village, possibly including ALJ or the Key Club.
Jess is back at her base in Okinawa, waiting for the day when she can return to visit “her kids.”
The Crusader Today is re-running this story from October 2015. Jess Pak was recently featured in the Defense Video Distribution System as seen in the welding picture above. For more on this story click on this link: https://www.dvidshub.net/image/3149734/grinding-her-gears