LEXINGTON, Ill. (WMBD/WYZZ) — Lexington’s High School’s Zach Bork didn’t spend his summer on vacation.

Instead, he was getting ready to serve.

Bork spent the summer in South Carolina in basic training. A move that surprised even his coach.

“Actually the first time he told me that was ‘Coach, I wouldn’t be here for summer football this year because I’m going to basic training for the National Guard,” said Ridgeview-Lexington head coach Hal Chiodo. “And in nearly 40 years, I’ve never had someone do that before.”

Being nearly 900 miles from home and away from his family took a toll on Bork.

“I was gone ten weeks, I left May 25 and I got back August 5,” Bork said. “Definitely weird, the physical aspect was not as challenging as I thought it would be. But the mental aspect was definitely there being away from people.”

Going through the physical and mental stresses of basic training alone certainly presented challenges to Bork, but he fought through that adversity using the lessons he learned on the football field.

“The physical training sometimes got difficult and in football we did similar stuff and I knew I couldn’t quit now,” Bork said.

There was a moment every week that helped him get through the tough times. A weekly call home.

“We had one minute 30-minute phone call every Sunday so I usually called my mom, dad, and girlfriend,” said Bork. “Definitely gave you the motivation for the rest of the week.”

Said Chiodo: “You’re going to find anyone more proud of their son in the state of Illinois than Scott Bork.”

While he doesn’t want to rush his senior year of high school, Bork says he feels ready for life after graduation.

“I like the education benefits (of the military) for sure, but I like serving and I wanted to serve my country of course,” Bork said. “So I think the best way to do it as I want to do something with law enforcement which is a way to serve.”