A salute to senior Ryan Gansen


Maddie Foelsch

Lining up to make a play on the defensive line, senior Ryan Gansen attempts to make a tackle. Gansen used football as a way to prepare for life in the Army. “It was a bit of a contest for a while between the Marine Corps and U.S. Army. In the end it came down to the army having more opportunities and different routes I could go,” Gansen said.

The dream of fighting to keep America safe has never faded for senior Ryan Gansen. Since he was in the eighth grade, he has wanted to serve in the United States Army.

Ryan is an innate leader,” Ryan’s mother Katie Gansen said. “He is dedicated, loyal, intelligent, intuitive and self-disciplined. While his dad and I were not fully on board with his decision initially, we have come to proudly support him.”

Ryan has integrated weightlifting and conditioning into his daily routine and plays football and lacrosse, working to mentally and physically prepare for army life.

“I’ve stayed in sports, and it has helped me learn to deal with people, stay in shape and hone in all of the skills that will be necessary for service,” Ryan said. “I’m just preparing myself constantly for the situations I could encounter so I can be as successful as [possible].”

Ryan plans to enlist in the army and is very passionate about risking his life for the country.

“It’s the most meaningful career I could think of,” Ryan said. “I feel it’s my responsibility to give back to the country that raised me and gave me the opportunity to be who I am.”

There are many risks associated with joining the army, but Ryan’s plans are on hold until he completes college.

“I cannot imagine any parent of a soldier not feeling apprehensive about their son or daughter joining a branch of the Armed Forces,”  Katie said. “It is a concern that keeps me awake at night. At my times of uncertainty and unrest, I always circle back to the fact that my son is a true patriot. Ryan’s love for America and his desire to fight to keep us free is his ultimate dream job.”

Brother and sophomore Josh Gansen trust the courage that his brother has to become stronger and to stay determined for the challenges ahead.

“He’s persistent; when he puts his mind to something he won’t give up on it, and he deeply cares about our country,” Josh said. “I am a little worried. I don’t want him to get hurt, and I want him to come back okay, but I know he’ll be alright.”

Ryan is very confident in his ability to defend his country and is looking forward to what the future holds.

“I have known for a long time that I wanted to go this way with my life. There are lots of opportunities for me to help,” Ryan said. “I am very grateful to everybody who has supported me.”