Teen loses 60lbs so he can join the Army

A senior at Cherry Hill High School West lost 60 lbs in order to serve his country and enlist in the Army. 

Mario Papaneri is an 18-year-old senior in New Jersey who enlisted in the Army and lost his excess pounds to meet the requirement. Papaneri stated that he didn't fear the challenge. He's ready for it and despite knowing it'll be hard, he is ready for boot camp. In the past, he wasn't physically fit. He said that about five months ago, he could not finish the training workouts. 

"At that time, I was 260 pounds. Before I even started anything to join the army, I had to lose the weight" he stated. He narrows it down to self-drive and determination. Staff Sergeant Edward McKenna, the Army recruiter, said "That's all self-drive and determination. You have to dig down deep in yourself to really get there."" 


For Papaneri, it was his desire to serve his country that became the force for him to achieve this transformation. "I just wanted to be a part of it. I just wanted to be a part of whatever the bigger picture is. Serving my country, protecting," the senior said. 

It took him five months to shed all 60 lbs, changing his diet and then changing his regimen, going for a grueling one and doing it religiously. He laid his schedule, quote "I woke up at 4:30 in the morning and I would do an hour on the elliptical. Then I'd go to school, I'd get out at 10:30, then I'd go miles on the treadmill. After that, I'd go to work at a construction company with my Dad, so I'd be running around." 

His story is a lesson for anyone, from his desire, his change and this transformation. Papaneri said "Don't give up. If this is what you want, go after it. There are a lot of feel-good stories out there. Make your own." 


Now, he's ready for the next challenge, boot camp. Papaneri commented, "I'm jsut ready to go to boot camp and become, really become a soldier." 

Papaneri is set to graduate from high school this June. Then, he'll be taking basic combat training in Fort Leonardwood in Missouri the month after.

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