A purpose-driven grad

By ERIC A. HOWALD Of the Keizertimes AFJROTC Lt. Col. Tristan Briggs’ sense of purpose permeates most things he sets his mind to. It’s one of many reasons he takes such pride in the Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Program’s color guard, and chose it over other options like the rifle team. “I respect those things, but I leave it to them. I prefer the more purpose-driven activities. The color guard has a more subtle purpose, but it’s there,” Briggs said. One of the other reasons is he takes pride in the color guard is that he helped build the team from the ground up when the JROTC program settled into a new home on the McNary High School campus two years ago. Briggs graduated Friday, June 6, as a valedictorian. He’s headed to the U.S. Air Force Academy this summer on a full academic scholarship. “Tristan came into the program already focused on the goal of making it to the academy. All we did was help him achieve that goal by providing him opportunities to develop himself as a leader, a community servant and citizen,” said Maj. Bob Garcia, one of two teachers in the McNary AFJROTC program. “Getting into any of the (military) academies is quite an achievement, and having a cadet get accepted is something we are very proud of.” Briggs got as early a...

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