MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. --
Second Lieutenant Michelle Burris joined the United States Marine Corps as a way to give back to her community and her parents, and in her short time in the Corps, she is achieving her goal.
She knew that her career as a Marine was meant to be, the day a Marine Corps Recruiter visited her high school. According to Burris, “He told me I could get a t-shirt if I could do a flex arm hang. I held on. I got the t-shirt”. The invitation to work out with the poolies turned into an opportunity to apply for a ROTC scholarship.
Four years later, she graduated from Jacksonville University in Florida, with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and was commissioned into the United States Marine Corps. Burris explained, “My parents have always supported my decision. They would have preferred I chose the Air Force, but I wanted the challenge of the Corps.”
2nd Lt. Burris’ life since taking the oath of service has been challenging; her path at The Basic School (TBS) has been placed on pause a few times due to injuries sustained by an accident with a drunk driver and a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) while on a family ski trip.
Although her training has been delayed, Burris has been anything but idle. The young officer has been chomping at the bit to complete her TBS training and move on with her Marine Corps career. She has been serving as a training officer at TBS and Marine Action Group representative since December 2017. The group meets monthly at the chaplain’s office to discuss quality of life issues. “Part of my role is to look for community volunteer opportunities,” said Burris.
Over the last year, she has been instrumental in growing the Marine Corp Base Quantico Volunteer Program by helping her fellow Marine officers find a favorite place to volunteer. Burris emphasized, “Volunteering at events with the local schools, meeting with the elderly at Heatherwood Retirement Community, socializing dogs at Paws for Purple Hearts, and helping homeless animals at the Fredericksburg Regional SPCA are some of the most frequently supported organizations.”
While everyone has their preference, Burris is quick to acknowledge her love for the family she has found at the Vets on Track Foundation, a non-profit group that provides direct support to homeless veterans, first responders, and their families. The organization helps those transitioning into permanent housing by giving them furniture and household accessories needed to transform their house into a home.
Burris proudly stated, “I spend most of my volunteer time with the Vets on Track Foundation, every weekend and during the week if I have the time. I believe in their mission of helping veterans that are in unfortunate circumstances. When you deliver items to their new homes, you know you are doing something right.”