Featured image: Lyon sophomore Blysse Harmon worked with Master Sgt. James Bacon (left) and Capt. Chance Hall (right) as part of Lyon’s ROTC program.
A Lyon sophomore is continuing a family legacy by contracting with the Army National Guard. She is the first Lyon student to contract under the college’s new military science concentration.
Blysse Harmon was inspired to join Lyon Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) by her uncle, who is a Lieutenant Colonel and chaplain with the Army National Guard.
“I’m really close with him. He’s like a father figure to me,” Harmon said.
Her uncle talked to her about ROTC and its benefits her senior year of high school. She considered joining the program before accepting a basketball scholarship at Lyon.
“They didn’t have an ROTC program at the time, so I was like ‘Maybe it wasn’t meant to be,’” Harmon said.
She continued, “I prayed about it, and two days later, I get a call from my uncle that ROTC is coming to Lyon. It kind of felt like it was meant to be.”
Lyon College began offering a military science concentration in fall 2019, and ROTC courses were part of the curriculum.
After contracting, Harmon has been awarded a three-year scholarship at Lyon. Not only are her tuition and fees covered, but she will also receive a monthly stipend, an annual book stipend and E-5 pay every month for drill.
“The good thing about the program is it gives you a head start in life,” Harmon said. “Once I graduate, I’ll be an officer and have three years of job experience under me.”
While basketball and ROTC are both big-time commitments, she said the ROTC staff have worked around her schedule.
“That was one of the only reasons I was hesitant about joining ROTC,” Harmon said. “I wasn’t sure I would have time for both, but my ROTC teachers kept reassuring me they would work around my basketball schedule and they really have.”
Basketball and ROTC also work together better than she would have expected.
“I have to stay in shape for basketball and for the Army National Guard,” she said. “Now when I get through a basketball workout I get two things out of it.”
Harmon is majoring in psychology and minoring in Spanish with a concentration in military science. She plans to get her master’s degree in occupational therapy after graduating from college.
“The Army National Guard will pay for that schooling,” she said. “If I can get an opportunity within the National Guard to work in occupational therapy, then that’s what I want to do.”
Her favorite part about ROTC so far is the community environment.
“It’s a really good environment that teaches you a lot of respect and discipline,” Harmon said. “For a lot of people, that sounds scary, but it’s kind of awesome because you build bonds with people.”
“I really love to work out and be active, and with ROTC you get to do that with people going through the same things you are,” said Harmon.
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