Salutations From Tucson

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Editor:

It is with sincere gratitude that I write this letter to the Town of Payson. In the Fall of 2002, I left the familiar sights and sounds of the town I had grown to love. With my safe and encouraging adolescence framed in the rearview mirror, I drove to Tucson, where I was to continue life's education.

Having been born on the Fourth of July, I believe I was destined to serve my country and after the events of September 11th, I secured that destiny by enlisting in the U.S. Marine Corps and then accepted the USMC officer scholarship.

For six semesters, I scored a perfect 300 on the Marine Physical Fitness Test and held such billets as Platoon Commander and Athletics Officer.

During my first year of school I was certified and hired by Fitness Together as a personal trainer. In the summer of 2005, I attended Officer Candidate School and graduated -- ranked No. 2 in my platoon for physical fitness.

Later that next semester, I made the difficult decision to renounce my commission as a Second Lieutenant, in order to further my career as a trainer and to pursue higher education in the field of holistic medicine.

To alleviate the stress that accompanied major directional change, I found refuge in the boxing ring, training for triathlons and most importantly, on the pitch. My teammates on the Women's U of A Rugby team became my new family support system, reminiscent of the amazing teams I had left behind at Payson High. For the first time in our team's 17-year existence, we ranked No. 1 in SoCal Division II and 5th in the nation!

In May of this year, I graduated from the University of Arizona with a B.S. degree in psychology and athletic training. That same month, I was promoted from personal trainer to manager of Tucson's newest fitness training studio and after attending franchise school in Denver this summer, I am now general manager of Elements Therapeutic Massage as well.

I contribute my success to balance, work hard and play hard, a lesson I was fortunate enough to learn from the many local role models that blessed my life as I grew up a Proud PAYSONite!

If you are ever in my neck of the woods, don't hesitate to stop on by for a workout and a rubdown!

Michelle Closs

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