BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (WMBD/WYZZ) — Walker Burns, A Senior at Bloomington High School, got quite a special honor Thursday afternoon.
In front of friends and family, members of the United States Navy presented him with a Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps (NROTC) scholarship, worth up to $200,000.
“It feels… just awesome to be honored by these people that I’ve respected my whole life,” said Burns.
Burns was the only person in the Midwest to get this scholarship, and the road to this reward has been years in the making.
Burns said it all really started his sophomore year when he reached out to the Naval Recruiting Officers.
“Asked them about different opportunities that they had, talked about the Naval Academy, enlisting, and ROTC, and, and I did some research and at home and figured ROTC would be probably my best interest,” said Burns.
He said a lot of work was put into the application process, something his football coach Scott Godfrey can attest to.
“There was some questionnaires, some paperwork, letters of recommendation, things like that, that needed to be filled out, we had to give him an exam, like a physical exam that I administered to him one day here after school,” said Godfrey.
District 87 Superintendent Dr. Barry Reilly said he’s glad the positive influences in Burns’ life, including his coaches and teachers, helped him along the way.
“When you add it all up, getting a scholarship that in the end could be worth $200,000, that’s really special,” said Dr. Reilly.
It’s an award that Burns said will help take some financial burden off of his family, especially his mother.
“My dad is actually in a tough situation right now, he’s in the hospital, he had COVID awhile back, so just especially with that going on, it’s definitely great to take that burden off of her, paying with my sister’s college and everything, and with those medical bills,” said Burns.