Payson Grad Joins Army

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The events of Sept. 11 did nothing to deter Charles Voakes from joining the Army. In fact, it reinforced his decision to serve his country.

Voakes, 21, was sworn in Oct. 30.

"I joined to serve my country," he said. "Some people go in for the college money ... or just a job. I went to serve my country."

This is Voakes' second time to join the armed forces. Upon graduation from high school, Voakes entered the Army, however, was medically discharged due to an injury to a shoulder following a car accident in 1996.

Voakes said he is now completely healed and looking forward to his four-year enlistment.

The young soldier, who grew up in Pine, said he does not know where he will be assigned upon completion of basic training at the end of this month. Right now he is learning to become a soldier.

"It's a new life. I would like to be stationed overseas ... maybe Germany," Voakes said.

He said he thinks everyone can benefit from joining the service, even if they do not wish to make a career of it.

"It's a good experience," the 1998 Payson High School graduate said. "It helps you not to take living in freedom for granted and makes you a better person."

Voakes returned to his station in Ft. Leonardwood, Mo. Jan. 3.

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