SCARBOROUGH, Maine –
Motivation and dedication are two qualities extolled among the military, and for one Future Soldier, they proved indispensable in his path to enlistment.
Looking at Bailey Sawyer, a 5-foot-10-inch, sharply dressed 18 year old, you'd never know he weighed more than 300 pounds less than two years ago.
A former Bonny Eagle High School class president, Sawyer received a full ride to the University of Southern Maine as a pre-med student and was working as a surgical pharmacy technician. After several months of college, Sawyer decided it wasn't for him.
Toward the end of his high school career, the Buxton, Maine, native had dreamed of serving his country as a medic or flying in the United States Army.
Sawyer first visited the Scarborough Recruiting Station in early October 2017, looking to enlist into the active Army. Obesity and excessive body fat proved formidable obstacles during his initial visit to the Portland Military Entrance Processing Station, and he was temporarily disqualified on his first attempt at enlistment.
Sawyer struggled with his weight for years, using a popular high-protein diet with nominal results. Unwavering in his determination to join, he found help in a high school acquaintance and fellow Army recruit, Craig Stamps.
Stamps worked at a local fitness center while he waited to ship to basic training. Recruiters at the Scarborough station knew of Stamps' passion for fitness and asked if he would help another applicant. Stamps was happy to assist.
"I told them I'd do everything in my power to help him out," Stamps said.
Starting in January, Stamps ran Sawyer through the paces with high-intensity interval workouts and modified his nutrition plan. This, coupled with constant weekly monitoring by the recruiting station, enabled Sawyer to shave off the extra weight and melt down body fat. Occasional setbacks did nothing to deter Sawyer.
"Some weeks I was bigger, some weeks I lost two inches, but I had to keep on trying and knew someday I was going to be able to get my measurement," Sawyer said. "I couldn't let the number on the scale deter me from my future."
After shedding more than 80 pounds, Sawyer passed his physical March 22. He enlisted into the active Army as a Blackhawk helicopter repairer and is beyond excited. Sawyer will ship to Fort Jackson, South Carolina, in late April for Initial Entry Training, then transfer to Fort Eustis, Virginia, for fifteen weeks of Advanced Individual Training.
Approximately 71 percent of youth in America do not qualify for service in the United States military due to physical, moral or other factors. Sawyer's motivation, desire and dedication were instrumental in his ability to be a part of the less than one percent of the population who serves in the armed forces.
When asked about what motivated him to change his lifestyle, Sawyer said, "One day it just clicked, and I said, 'I'm going to do this. I have to do this.' I knew the doors that would open with my enlistment."