By Seth Daniel
When Joey Hotz was a young boy and attended the Everett Junior Police Academy, he sat in the seats, wore the uniform, did required double-clap at the end of every announcement, and watched closely as the officers who ran the camp and spoke about their various missions to protect the serve the community.
The message and camp protocol resonated with the young man.
So much so that he returned to the camp after graduation – and only a few short days before leaving for the U.S. Army – to act as a high school mentor to the other young boys and girls sitting in those seats this year.
“This is my first year as a Mentor, and I did this because I wanted to make it as good a time and experience for them as it was for me when I was a cadet,” he said after the graduation ceremony last Friday, July 14. “I strove to have a little more fun with the kids by playing with them and competing with the officers as well. I remember what they told me and what I repeated here: ‘Keep going, Keep out of trouble, Keep your head up and have pride in what you do.’”
And it resonated with the kids.
Members of his squad had a great time getting to know Hotz and going through the drills and trips in the Junior Police Academy this year.
It was much of what occurred for Hotz, who said he knew after being a Cadet in the Junior Academy that he wanted to do some sort of law enforcement or military.
That is exactly what he will embark on come July 25 when the 19-year-old leaves for Army Basic Training at Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri. There, he will train to be a combat engineer.
He hopes that will help him pay for his college, and eventually lead to a career with the FBI or the National Security Agency (NSA).
“The military is something I always looked forward to because it’s like a police officer, but your protecting a much larger area,” he said. “I always looked up to the military and police officers, so I decided to become one. At first I wanted to be a police officer after watching the officers here and my cousin, who is a police officer in Topsfield. Then I really decided that the larger mission of the military, and hopefully the FBI or NSA later, was something that I wanted to do.”
Lt. Frank Hoenig, who has run the Junior Police Academy, said on Friday he was very proud of the Mentor and former Cadet.
“I am very proud of him and I salute him for taking on such a big mission in the next few days,” he said. “He’s going to be protecting us and our country. I know there are great things in store for him.”
As for the Everett Police Junior Police Academy, which ended last Friday, it’s an experience Hotz said he would likely always take with him.
“We had a big field day in Glendale Park before it was renovated, and they showed us things about the SWAT team and set off smoke bombs,” he recalled. “As a Junior Cadet, I wasn’t really understanding everything that was happening at the time. I just remember as a cadet, everything we were doing was really cool.”