State Rep. Mary Whiteford, of Casco Township, welcomed local high school student and U.S. Marine Laura Velderman to the state Capitol on Wednesday to honor her with a special tribute on the House floor.
At just 17 years old, Velderman had the necessary classes and credits completed to graduate from Hopkins High School. Instead of coasting through the last few months of her senior year, she took the advice of her recruiter and enrolled in a three-month basic training program for the Marine Corps. While there, she gained the “Molly Marine” award for showing Marine characteristics from the beginning of training and even qualified as an expert in Marksmanship, the highest classification given. These accolades earned her a promotion and allowed her to graduate as a private first class Marine before even graduating high school.
Pfc. Velderman attended her military graduation ceremony last Friday. This Friday, she will be walking across the stage at Hopkins High School to receive her diploma. In between her two graduation ceremonies, Velderman received special recognition on the House floor by Rep. Whiteford and Sen. Aric Nesbitt.
“May happens to be Military Appreciation Month, and Pfc. Velderman is an inspirational young woman and a terrific example of exemplary service to our country,” Rep. Whiteford said. “Her accomplishments have made our community very proud and it was an honor to recognize her at the Capitol.”
PHOTO INFORMATION: Joined by her family, Pfc. Laura Velderman was recognized with a special tribute on the House floor by Rep. Mary Whiteford and Sen. Aric Nesbitt on Wednesday, May 22.