Jake Mills will lead the Atholton (Columbia, Md.) hockey team against Easton tonight in the Maryland Student Hockey League 2A semifinals. The Raiders are looking to defend their 2012 state title and Mills is looking to prolong his hockey-playing career. The all-Howard County selection is talented enough to play in college, but he's committed to follow in the footsteps of his late brother, Eugene, and join the Marines on May 27.
As Jake tells The Washington Post's Andrew Simon, Eugene's advice to "do something better" and his subsequent death while fighting in Afghanistan last June didn't deter Jake from joining the Marines. Quite the opposite.
“It was always ahead, and I never really lost sight of it,” Jake said. “I just kept thinking, ‘I want to serve my country,’ all these things of why I wanted to stay. The whole [Eugene] thing really got me to want to do it even more.”
Atholton dedicated its season to Eugene's memory and Jake says he thinks about his brother every day. He also has a good attitude heading into tonight's game.
“I guess I’d say [Eugene] is looking down on me or something,” Jake said. “I mean, if we don’t win, we don’t win. But I think we’ve got a really good chance. That’d be awesome, winning back to back. It’d be incredible.”
The full story is well worth your time.