LEE -- Matthew Joyner is forever linked to a famous Army general of World War II.
The Lee Middle and High School alum has received the George C. Marshall Foundation's Army ROTC Award for being this year's top cadet of the Minuteman Battalion.
The 100-member battalion is an Army Reserve Officers' Training Corps program based at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and affiliated with Western New England University in Springfield, along with cadets from six other colleges in the Pioneer Valley.
The annual award is named for the American military leader best known for devising the "Marshall Plan" to help rebuild Europe following WWII.
"I didn't expect to get the award," Joyner said " I feel good that all the hard work has paid off."
Joyner, a senior at WNEU and the battalion's cadet commander, is among the 170 other 2013 Marshall award recipients from Army ROTC programs across the country.
They recently gathered at the Marshall Foundation's headquarters in Lexington, Va., for a four-day leadership seminar that wrapped up this past week.
Joyner is currently finishing up his studies towards a degree in electrical engineering at WNEU. One day prior to graduation next month, he and his fellow senior cadets at WNEU will be commissioned as an second lieutenants during an Army ROTC ceremony on May 17. They will immediately be placed on active duty, with Joyner expected to briefly work as an ROTC recruiter before heading to Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., in August. There, he will spend the rest of the year in a basic officer leader course, until his next assignment.
Should Joyner's future include deployment overseas, he will be following in his father's footsteps. As a member of the Massachusetts Army National Guard, Tom Joyner flew Blackhawk medevac helicopters during two tours of duty in Iraq.
If put in harm's way, Matthew Joyner said, "I'll trust my senior leadership and trust my training."
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