EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Opinion

March 21, 2013

Editorial: Some cheers, some jeers for recent newsmakers

CHEERS to retired Marine Staff Sgt. Natasha Young, whose work with fellow veterans has been honored by the president.

Young, 32, joined the Marines after high school and served two tours of duty in Iraq. Her 12-year military career came to an end in 2011. The change left the Haverhill resident and Lawrence native feeling a bit out of place.

“When I took off my uniform I lost my identity for a bit,” Young told reporter Brian Messenger. “I didn’t know who I was.”

Volunteering with the Veterans Northeast Outreach Center in Haverhill helped Young regain her footing. She now works to help other veterans get involved with community service.

Young was among 14 women veterans honored with a Champions of Change award at the White House earlier this week. The award was created as part of President Barack Obama’s Winning the Future initiative.

Young said she accepted the award on behalf of American soldiers killed in action. Her best friends were in Washington for the ceremony, as was her mother, Rene Betances.

“It’s very humbling,” Young told our reporter. “It’s a wonderful opportunity for me. I was the product of a single-parent home. I hope she’s proud of me. I know she is.”

Young does her volunteer work through the nonprofit organization The Mission Continues, which awards community service fellowships to post-9/11 veterans.

“It was just a great way to give back to the community,” said Young. “I think everybody should serve whether you’re a veteran or not.”

Young’s exemplary service to our country and our community makes us proud to call her our neighbor here in the Merrimack Valley. We thank her for her service and congratulate her on a well-deserved honor.

JEERS to those who take the bait.

Some readers may be familiar with the concept of the “bait car,” a vehicle placed and monitored by police in an area prone to car theft in order to catch thieves in action.

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