Troy recently attended a dinner surrounded by friends and supporters to celebrate his birthday, his graduation from college and his acceptance into the Army. It was a great night of laughing, smiling, and a little bit of good-hearted teasing towards Troy. This night had been a long time coming and was all orchestrated by his Big Brother, Richard.

Troy and Richard were matched 7 years ago when Troy was 12. Troy lived with his aunt and did not have a consistent male role model around. His aunt was looking for someone to give Troy a sense of direction and provide a perspective that she, as his aunt, could not.

The match has had ups and downs with Troy being an active child who seemed to find his way into trouble here and there. However, by their one year anniversary, Troy was already calling Richard his “hero”. Troy was also making a lot of progression in compromising within the match, on which Richard had been working with him. They spent a lot of time together bowling, playing video games and going out to eat. Troy always looked forward to and valued every minute with Richard.

As the years went by, Richard and Troy continued to spend time together going fishing, taking walks, doing work around Richard’s home, and Troy became active in Richard’s church. Richard helped Troy apply for a Smile for a Lifetime scholarship from which he received free braces and an amazing new smile. In 2012, Richard was presented with the Big Brothers Big Sisters much deserved award of Big of the Year. Both Troy and his aunt were there to support Richard and celebrate the achievement.

Troy joined the ROTC during his freshman year of high school and Richard noticed early how good it was for him. They often talked about this and if you asked Troy what he was going to do after high school, his answer was that he planned to join the military. Now that dream is becoming a reality as Troy heads off to boot camp in November.

When discussing Troy’s match since he has now graduated, I asked him what advice we should give to a new Big and he said, “Just introduce them to Richard”.