October 5, 2010
By Donna Hales Phoenix Staff Writer
Muskogee native Jessica Pearson is working as a Marine recruiter after receiving numerous awards while in basic training at Parris Island, S.C.
Pearson, 19, is the daughter of Stephanie and Sheriff Charles Pearson.
Jessica Pearson received a commendation from the commanding officer of the training battalion for her selection as the honor graduate for her platoon.
Her peers chose her “above all others to represent the ideal of excellence that all women Marines strive for” — awarding her the Molly Marine Award.
She also was “meritoriously” promoted and named in the top 10 shooters — winning the highest marksman award in her platoon of 60.
In response, she wrote that taking charge and maintaining positive control of more than 60 of her peers was not an easy task.
“It took dedication, long hours, a good head on the shoulders, and most of all confidence. While growing up my father set the most pure example of how to live life by always doing what is right even when no one is watching.”
She also wrote “Molly Marine means being a well-rounded Marine who fully understands how much heart, dedication, determination and motivation is needed to surpass the standards of being any ordinary Marine.
“To be selected as Molly Marine is an incredible honor that I am so thrilled to obtain. I went from being the girl back home who was always trying to please everyone to the young woman who stepped up to lead, to challenge and earn the respect of others.”
Pearson graduated from Muskogee High School in May 2009. She had been in a number of organizations and taken leadership classes. She had worked for a year as a Head Start teacher at Fort Gibson when she decided she wanted to join the Marines.
Her dad said he was scared for her, but he supported her decision. Many in his family were in the military.
Jessica prepared before she left for the Marines.
Three months before she left she started rising at 5:30 a.m. and going swimming at Muskogee Swim and Fitness. She ran everyday at noon and worked out with weights every evening.
“I didn’t take a day off,” she said.
Charles Pearson said he was amazed to see what she wrote that will be given to other recruits.
“You always hope to be an impact on your children’s lives in a positive way,” he said.
“I can’t think of any better tribute. I’ve tried to be that person (she wrote about) — I’m not that person. But it’s the ultimate when your kids say it.”
Reach Donna Hales at 684-2923 or dhales @muskogeephoenix.com.