129th Trooper Recruit School Graduation:
Now Comes the Real Work
LANSING - Their loved ones anxiously awaited their entrance.
This day had finally come.
The 129th Michigan State Police Trooper Recruit School had reached graduation.
The past twenty-two weeks had been not only a physical, but a mental test and training of what is yet to come: their careers as police troopers.
From tough workouts, getting yelled at and almost drowning during water safety to classroom instructions and academic tests, those who made it through the academy had gotten through 128 days, 106 nights, 2,544 hours and 314 meals together.
"Twenty-two weeks ago we started as complete strangers, but we grew to become one family,” recruit and class orator Dijon Ware said. “This wasn't an easy road, and not everyone we started with made it through, but we persevered despite what was thrown our way. And that was a lot."
Class Comander, Sgt. Barry Schrader lead the group in and presented each of the 47 recruits as they walked across the stage and received their badges.
Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, the keynote speaker, joked, laughed, but most importantly, recognized the work done by the people in uniform.
“Thank you for the next few decades,” Snyder said.
An emotional, but cheerful couple of hours, as recruits recognized that they were ready to serve and protect the citizens of Michigan.
"We stayed in it together and helped each other out and now this day has finally come and now we're officially state troopers, it's exciting, it's an exciting day,” recruit Ryan Pettis said.
A few recruits were presented with awards for their accomplishments during the academy.
Javon Strickland received the Marksmanship Award, Ware received the Team Building Award, and Peter Oskvarek received the Outstanding Performance Award.
Excitement and relief could be felt throughout the room as Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue, director of the Michigan State Police, administered the Oath of Office to all new recruits, but the most smiled were seen as loved ones pinned the badge on their recruits.
“I didn't think it was real at first. It was kinda something I've been dreaming about since I was young, so finally a dream come true,” recruit Alexander Martin said.
His parents, Kristin and Daniel Martin, who couldn’t contain their tears as they talked about Martin, said he has wanted to do this since he was four-years-old.
“Just reminding him that when it's all done and over with, you'll never regret it. Every day you do it is one less you have to do it, so it was hard,” Daniel Martin, a sheriff himself, said.
The ceremony came to a close with the Trooper’s Pledge.
Louder than any other time, the 129th Trooper Recruit Class was proud to announce: “I am a Michigan State Trooper.”
From now on, the real work had just begun.
The now-troopers knew the true test was still to come, when they finally reported to their precincts on Monday to go out on the field.