Recruit loses more than 100 pounds to join Marines: ‘It was worth it’

Austin Stephens says he has lost over 100 pounds to join the U.S. Marine Corps.
Austin Stephens says he has lost over 100 pounds to join the U.S. Marine Corps.(WLUC)
Published: Oct. 21, 2022 at 4:58 PM CDT
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ESCANABA, Mich. (WLUC/Gray News) - A 19-year-old Michigan man says he hopes his recent weight-loss journey can motivate others.

Austin Stephens said he wanted to join the Marines but was not physically fit.

When he first walked into Marine Staff Recruiter Caros Reinhold’s office, he had a long way to go to achieve his goal of becoming a Marine.

“When he said he wanted to be a Marine, I took that to heart,” Reinhold said. “It meant a lot to me.”

Stephens was over 300 pounds, but Reinhold said he saw potential.

“I was willing to take him under my wing, help him out and show him everything I could,” Reinhold said. “It was worth it. He is an outstanding young man.”

With a bit of help from Reinhold and a lot of determination and work, Stephens lost more than 100 pounds in a year.

“I looked at myself, and I looked at Staff Sergeant Reinhold and Sergeant Kohrs and other Marines when I realized I needed to hold myself to a higher standard,” Stephens said.

The 19-year-old said he is excited to join the brotherhood and serve.

“It is a family. I am excited to be a part of it,” Stephens said.

Reinhold said Stephens’ story is an example of setting a goal and working to reach it.

“For Austin, it wasn’t, ‘I have to lose 100 pounds tomorrow.’ He did it a day at a time,” Reinhold said. “You can’t take the whole situation and accomplish it at once. Set a goal, set how you will get there, and keep pushing.”

Stephens said he hopes his story inspires others.

“I just hope people see it and realize they can always do more,” Stephens said. “They can push themselves to a higher standard than they are right now.”

Stephens is starting boot camp in San Diego this weekend. He said he plans to specialize in cyber security in the U.S. Marine Corps.