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Cadet Marc Gernon
son, Marc Gernon, graduated from Lincoln's Challenge in December
of 1999. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Lincoln's
Challenge and all of the staff that helped my son when no one or
nothing else could.
is the youngest of six children. From the time he started school
he always said he hated school and did not even try most of the
time to get along with his teachers and do even a minimum of school
work. By the time he reached junior high school he was known as
the class clown and was getting into all sorts of trouble. When
he was 16 he was put on probation for underage drinking. The police
brought him home several times for being out too late, drinking,
and assorted other problems. Each time he got in trouble we were
in court and his probation was extended.
this time he would not even go to school and we tried counseling
and he also went to a 13 week out patient program for substance
abuse. No matter what we tried nothing seemed to work. Uadreams.com facebook By the time
he turned 17 he was not in school, had only enough credits for his
first year of high school, and was in trouble with his probation
officer and the only future he seemed to have was with the Department
learned about Lincoln's Challenge from a friend of his. In March
of 1999, his father and I took him for a visit at Lincoln's Challenge.
Thankfully, Sgt. Petkus gave him a chance to enroll in the class
starting in July. When we dropped him off that July I don't think
anyone expected him to complete the program.
first time I picked Marc up for visitation in September, I could
not believe the change. He had grown up and become a polite, well-groomed
young man and for the first time in a long time seemed to care about
his future. His exact words were "I was in a rut that I could
not seem to get out of and now I know I can be anything I want to
be if I work hard enough."
graduated from Lincoln's Challenge in December of 1999. He had earned
his GED, had offers to attend Parkland College, and had earned a
scholarship to attend a state junior college. To everyone's surprise,
the choice he made was to join the Marines. With the help and encouragement
of Dennis Brannon he was in contact with the Marine Recruitment
Office and was scheduled to join as soon as he turned 18 in April.
From the time he graduated from Lincoln's Challenge in December
until he joined the Marines in April, most of his friends and even
his brothers tried to talk him out of going but he never changed
probation was canceled by the court system and his probation officer
even wrote a letter of recommendation to the Marine Recruiter. Marc
is now Private First Class M. Gernon in Camp Pendleton, CA and hopes
to make a career in the Marine Corp.
will always be grateful to Lincoln's Challenge for helping Marc
when no one else was able to and for giving him the hope, courage,
and skills to become the man that he is today.
Mother of Marc
Cadet Bradley Cox
son is Bradley Joseph Cox; he proudly serves in the United States
Air Force and is stationed in Tacoma, Washington at McCord AFB.
He is a wonderful young man and we (his family) are very proud of
to Brad going to the Lincoln's Challenge Program, around 14 years
of age he began to hang with the wrong crowd. He began drinking
and fighting. Trouble first surfaced at home, we was disobedient,
defiant, angry and was in constant conflict with all members of
our family. Then, trouble started at school, his grades dropped,
he wouldn't show up for class if he didn't feel like it, he got
into fights and damaged school property. His bad attitude and lack
of respect for anyone ended him up in trouble with the law and eventually
in jail at the age of 16.
a family we were at the end of our rope! We had tried family counseling,
asked for help through our family physician, tried new rules at
home along with reading every book regarding troubled teens on the
shelf. We had numerous conversations trying to get Brad to see that
he had chosen the wrong path. I worried that his future looked so
bleak. There were no results. After exhausting every effort available
I saw a local news program and the young people were much like my
son but they had made a decision to change their lives and had joined
the Lincoln's Challenge Program and graduated!
took down the information and called Lincoln's Challenge Program
the very next day. We were given a time to come in for an orientation
and in the meantime we were sent information in the mail.
my husband and I told Brad what we had learned about the Lincoln's
Challenge Program, he was adamant that he would never go to the
Lincoln's Challenge Program. We told him that it is his decision
but he at least should go with us to gather the information and
find out what this program was all about. He agreed.
at the orientation, Brad watched the film, got involved in the question
and answer portion and talked privately to Sgt. Ivan Jackson. He
made the decision that a life change was needed and he signed up.
From that point on and for the next few months he got increasingly
excited about the program.
at the Lincoln's Challenge Program he excelled in the academic portion
of the program and was recognized for his efforts and accomplishments.
The LCP transformed him into a very confident and proud young man.
We exchanged letters almost every day and each letter showed us
that he now understood that he was going to have a bright future
and a lot of people standing behind him to give him the extra push
and confidence when needed. We went to every visitation and walked
away feeling good about the changes in his life. The program was
not easy; he earned more privileges as he began to show respect,
teamwork and effort. Anyone can do this if they have the right attitude
and a desire to overcome!
graduated from the Lincoln's Challenge Program on December 17, 1999
and left home for the USAF on December 27. He has never looked back!
He continued to carry the pride, confidence and respect for others
that he gained from the Lincoln's Challenge Program. Bradley's mentor
continued to be very much a part of his life. Whenever Bradley gets
an opportunity to come home (even if it is only for a few days)
he always stops in to see the Lincoln's Challenge Program staff.
He also talks about one day volunteering to work at the Lincoln's
Challenge Program in Rantoul.
is now 19 years old and has not been in any trouble since graduating
from Lincoln's Challenge Program. He has traveled across the United
States and calls home four times a week. We are always excited to
hear his voice and listen to his accounts of this point in his life.
He was home one month ago and we had family pictures taken.
family and I are forever grateful to the staff of the Lincoln's
Challenge Program. I shudder to think what might have been without
the Lincoln's Challenge Program and the staff whom have dedicated
their lives to tomorrow's future!
Jackie L. Clauser
I would like to
1st start by saying THANK GOD FOR THE LINCOLN CHALLENGE PROGRAM!!!!!!!!!!!!
This program literally saved my child's life. Cameron was out there
bad, doing everything he thought he was big and bad enough to do
and the words respect, accountability and responsibility didn't
exist in his vocabulary. All of that changed on July 19th, 1999
that's the day he went off to the Lincoln Challenge Program. Cameron
Porter being a big guy in stature thought he had it all figured
out, he had all the answers.
Cameron didn't know
or realize he was about to embark upon something that would change
his life forever. Cameron's 1st trimester was a bit shaky he had
to first realize he was in a place where people cared. Cameron adjusts
to rules and regulations and met positive people. When Cameron 1st
came home on his 1st visit the mannerism he display was unbelievable,
his positive response was unrecognizable, I had to ask myself, was
this the same boy I sent away 5 weeks ago.
Major Brownfield who had a very positive impact on his life. Major
Brownfield drill in Cameron accountability and responsibility is
the key. Master Sgt. Watts along with the Team leaders instill leadership
qualities, self esteem and respect for yourself and others in Cameron.
I would recommend this
program to anyone because the Administrators and Staff are out to
save the lost at any cost and it worked for my son. Cameron received
his GED, Scholarship and all kinds of Leadership awards, not to
mention he is a dynamic athlete. Because of Lincoln's Challenge
Cameron is now working during the day and attending Triton College
at night. All I can say is Thank You Lincoln's Challenge, you are
a life saver. Now Cameron lives by the words accountability and
Ms. Terry Abrams
Cameron Porter's Mother
My son Michael
Ericksen attended the Lincoln's Challenge Program from January to
June 2000. Before Michael went in, he had many disciplinary problems,
more than we were able to handle at home. Basically he had a total
disregard and disrespect for his father and my authority. He ran
away many, many times.
He has a very high
IQ, but did poorly in school. Michael failed his freshman year and
half of his sophomore year. He was not motivated to succeed in scholastics
or sports. Michael was very definitely not a team player in any
of the parts of his life. Michael comes from an average middle class
family with many advantages, including two parents who love him.
When he came out of Lincoln's
Challenge, we noticed a more respectful attitude, the ability to
work with the family. I specifically noticed his ability to empathize
with others, something that he was unable to do before. His temperamental
outbursts were minimized. He didn't run away from his problems,
but was able to talk them out. When the problems weren't worked
out in his favor, he maintained his temper.
I am not trying to
say that he was perfect when he came out of the program, he still
has a long way to go till he is grown up, but he is much improved.
His father and I didn't know what we were going to do with him before
the program, because he was so out of control. I am so grateful
for this program and the people who run it. They have a tough job,
and they do it very well. I now have my son back!
He is in the Navy now
and is doing very well there. He says that the physical training
there isn't as bad as it was in Lincoln's Challenge! He said that
the men at the Program toughened him up.
Thank you for providing
the Challenge to people who don't have any other choices. I have
recommended the Program to many people with angry troubled children.
I will continue to do so.
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Cadet Jason Milam
My wife and I
would like to express our gratitude to the Lincoln Challenge Program,
and its staff for the support that they gave our family and for
the structure that they instilled in our son former Corps Member
to Jason's attending the Lincoln Challenge Program it should be
noted that not only was Jason on the road to academic failure, but
he had already been placed on probation for fighting. Jason had
difficulty controlling his anger. This anger became apparent to
his teachers and us alike. We communicated with his teachers on
a regular basis and they made comments to us about Jason getting
upset about something and having to leave class to walk it off.
They said his hands would ball up and his whole body would begin
to physically shake. Jason also lied a lot. He would do things and
never take responsibility for his actions. These actions became
a serious concern to us as parents, it got to the point that we
were taking Jason to counseling and they tried to tell us that Jason
was ADHD and needed medication to control his temperament. We didn't
view this as the answer to Jason's problem and therefore sought
alternative methods. After finding none I tried to have my son put
in a Juvenile Center, that's when I accidentally stumbled across
Lincoln Challenge was a blessing. The program gave our son needed
structure in his life and somehow enabled him to keep his head and
deal with adversity in a healthy and mature manner. He respects
himself and others.
is working and a manager at the dealership recently told us "Jason
has a very good work ethic, something they don't teach them in college."
He saved his money, bought himself a car, pays his own insurance
and goes to college. He has a high regard for his family and others.
that this is a federally funded program and the funds are allotted
only if the programs are successful. Personally I wish more parents
knew about your program. If they did, more of our youth would actually
have a chance at success in life; be an asset to their communities
rather than a liability.
very proud of Jason's accomplishments and we know you would be too.
Thank you for all you did to help our family.
John and Cynthia Iorio
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