Story by SSgt Terence Brady on 02/06/2019
The desire to change is often sparked by a challenge that inspires action. For one Albany, New York, native, that desire led to the Marine Corps.
Christopher Bachorik, now a private in the Marine Corps, had spent much of his life dreaming about becoming a Marine.
"I didn't do much in high school, and I spent most of my time sitting at home playing video games," said Bachorik. "I actually became overweight from doing that. I just stopped caring about things, but as time went on I realized I would have to do something about it."
Bachorik believed that going to college was the next logical step after graduating high school, and was considering pursuing an education in engineering. He didn't have very many goals. He always liked the idea of becoming a Marine, but it became clear he was going to have to get serious about it.
"I had talked about it for years, but, because I had weight issues, people didn't take it seriously, and they wouldn't take it seriously until I did," said Bachorik. "When I first entered the [Marine recruiting] office, I wasn't exactly in shape, so I couldn't do any pull ups. The experience was a wake-up call."
Bachorik signed up when he was 17, and had the support of his mother, who helped him with the first steps.
"He talked about it since he was eight years old. As he was approaching high school, it became more serious," said Ann Marie Rasnick, Bachorik's mother. "As a parent, you get nervous. You're thinking Ok, this is what you want to do' but he had talked about it his whole life, so I was behind him."
Bachorik was encouraged by his mother, who bought him a gym membership.
"He started to go to the gym by himself every day, and when I started seeing how serious he was, I got him a personal trainer membership and that's when he really started to take off," said Rasnick. "Shortly afterward, he joined the delayed entry program."
Bachorik enlisted from Marine Corps Recruiting Substation Capital District. Early on in the delayed entry program, he struggled to keep up with his fellow future Marines.
"The length of time it took to get in shape was mentally challenging. It was definitely physically challenging, but I just had to keep going," said Bachorik. "As I got better, I was able to do more stuff with the poolees in the DEP without worrying about it. Now I could help the people who were in my position."
Looking back on his journey, Bachorik said that he was more than prepared for the challenges he would face during boot camp. He dropped his 3-mile run time to 19 minutes and 54 seconds for his physical fitness test, and lost more than 100 pounds by the time he earned the title Marine.
"At the [eagle, globe and anchor] ceremony, you realize how much you have accomplished, and I did tear up a little bit because of how far I had to go to get here," said Bachorik. "I had dropped 100 pounds, and I had to do all this other stuff mentally. It's really hard to explain unless you've done it before."
His transformation spoke more about him than his appearance. Bachorik came back with noticeable confidence and independence.
"He used to wear baggy clothes and you couldn't really see him, and now he wears everything fitted and that's part of his confidence," said Rasnick. "When we picked him up, you can see he was so much more independent and confident with his head held up, and it's a proud moment for a parent."
Rasnick knew that making this change was important to Bachorik, and supporting him would be essential to his success.
"As a parent, if your child wants to do something and you support them, they excel at it, and I feel that's what he did," said Rasnick. "He has the support of his family members, and I think that support is what drove him because he knew that we were behind him."
"I think most parents have that anxiety of the initial separation from your child, but one of the things Chris said that I thought was cool was you learn a lot when you're away from home.' To see him do so many things that he didn't do before is amazing."
Bachorik hopes to make the Marine Corps a career, and looks forward to what's to come.
"After I got done with boot camp, I realized that it was the first step into starting my bigger career of being a Marine," said Bachorik. "If you're mentally strong you'll be able to do it. Just don't quit, and push yourself every day."