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A graduate of Yukon High School, Elijah Wallace now calls Tahlequah his home. As a student-athlete at Northeastern State University where he is a member of the football team, Wallace is also proud to be a member of the Oklahoma Army National Guard.

While his original plans were to join the National Guard after graduating from college, Wallace listened to the advice of a friend and discovered the many advantages of the ROTC program that made his decision to join now instead of waiting an easy choice.

“After graduating from high school and getting to Tahlequah to play college football, I had planned on joining after I graduated but my friend Conner Sudduth who was joining the ROTC at NSU told me it wouldn’t interfere with football,” explained Wallace. “It gave me a chance for a scholarship so I decided to join now and not later. I swore in on May 29th this year.”

Once a month, Wallace attends drill, but during football season when he’s supposed to be on the football field with the Riverhawks, his Guard unit works with him on his schedule and make-up days.

“I go to drill once a month while I’m in school at NSU. I’m thankful that they work with me during football season. It’s great that there’s no interference penalty,” smiled Wallace. “I have always wanted to serve and the National Guard opens up so many opportunities for me and what I want to do for my career.”

Wallace has a grandfather who served and fought during the Vietnam War with the U.S. Army. The opportunity to continue that military tradition is a proud moment for Wallace.

Today as he prepares for the upcoming football season, Wallace is also preparing for his next drill and gladly shares this advice with anyone preparing for college or looking to join the service.

“Learn how to manage your time and everything will be a lot more manageable. And don’t give up on your future even when the going gets tough,” Wallace said.

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