A Schuylkill Salute: Purdue Rower To Be Commissioned Into U.S. Army Prior To Aberdeen Dad Vail Finals

May 14, 2011

By: Brendan F. Quinn
Editorial Writer
Dad Vail Regatta Organizing Committee
DVROC Office Line: (610) 234-2076

Young Inset

Today at noon, a new twist will be added to the page-turning history of the Aberdeen Dad Vail Regatta.

Upon Dad Vail’s sprawling new awards dock at the Schuylkill River grandstands, America’s largest collegiate regatta will honor one specific member of its 3,080 participants.

Rachel Young, a senior on Purdue University’s women’s varsity eight, will be commissioned into the United States Army between the WV8 morning heats and the afternoon finals, in which Purdue is expected to play a major role.

Talk about a full day.

“I couldn’t ask for anything better,” Young said.

A story that will culminate with grandeur began in heartache. Early in the Boilermakers’ season, Young, a four-year member of both Purdue’s crew team and the university’s proud ROTC program, came to the unsettling realization that a major conflict would arise in May.

The news painfully sunk-in; the 2011 Aberdeen Dad Vail fell on the same weekend of both her graduation and her commissioning ceremony.

“I really didn’t know what to do,” Young said on Friday, after her boat finished with the second fastest time in the women’s varsity eight heats. “It was difficult, but I decided to come to Dad Vail and skip my commissioning ceremony. I nearly threw up 20 minutes before going into my Colonial’s office to tell him.”

Two lifetime opportunities -- one weekend -- one decision.

When Young finally made her painstaking decision, she knew she was attempting to tame a question with no answer. Either way, she would miss a memory-filled event and be missed by those who needed her.

Little did she know, plans would soon unravel to blend the two extraordinary experiences.

First, Young received a surprising call from the Aberdeen Dad Vail Regatta Organizing Committee. It took her aback and she immediately called her father and said, “Get this -- Dad Vail wants to have a commissioning ceremony for me.”

“I didn’t think much of it,” Young said in hindsight. “It didn’t seem like a big deal.”

But then Young received an email from the ADVROC for details. Then another email, and another email, and another email.

Then the Philadelphia Inquirer called for an interview.

“That’s when I thought, ‘Oh. Wow. This is going to be big,’” Young said. “When I called my mom and dad that time, they were just ecstatic.”

Soon after, Young heard the full details. She will receive a full commissioning ceremony on the awards dock of the 2011 Aberdeen Dad Vail Regatta in front of friends, family, teammates and hundreds of spectators. A full color guard from Valley Forge Military Academy will be on hand to ensure the ceremony is performed in proper fashion.

And just to think -- she nearly stayed home.

“It seemed like there was really no right decision -- either way I’d be letting someone down,” she said in an initial interview with the ADVROC two months ago. “How could I possibly choose between the two? It was the ceremony I worked four years to get to versus my last Dad Vail as a senior.”

On this occasion, hindsight isn’t 20-20, it's 40-40 -- perfect. Rachel Young made the right call.

“It just means so much that people here recognize how serious this is and how big of a deal it is to me,” Young said. “I was very excited and even overwhelmed. This is bigger than I ever thought it would be. It’s unbelievable.”

Not only will Young be commissioned into the Army in style, but one of her Purdue brethren will conduct the ceremony. A fellow Purdue ROTC member, Joe Park, one of Young’s closest friends, is driving overnight from the school’s campus in West Lafayette, Ind., to read Young the oath and officially swear her in to the United States Army.

As it turns out, in the end, one decision has turned this weekend into a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

“It hasn’t really hit me that all of this is going to happen,” Young says. “I definitely made the right choice.”

About the Aberdeen Dad Vail Regatta, Presented by Coca-Cola®
The Aberdeen Dad Vail Regatta presented by Coca-Cola is the largest collegiate regatta in North America with over 100 colleges and universities from the United States and Canada. Held annually since 1953 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on the Schuylkill River, thousands of student athletes and spectators visit the City of Philadelphia during the weekend of the second Saturday in May.

About Title Sponsor — Aberdeen Asset Management
Aberdeen Asset Management Inc is the wholly-owned U.S. subsidiary of Aberdeen Asset Management PLC, a global investment management group which is headquartered in Aberdeen, Scotland, and manages more than $287 billion of assets for both institutions and private individuals (as of Dec. 31, 2010). Philadelphia is home to the U.S. equity and fixed income investment management teams, as well as U.S. client servicing, consultant relations, business development and other operational staff: more than 180 employees in total. Aberdeen manages and services approximately $53 billion in total assets on behalf of North American and international clients. Here in the U.S., Aberdeen is also proud to be one of the supporters of the British Garden at Hanover Square, New York. This New York City park celebrates historic ties of friendship and unity between the U.S. and the UK. Globally, Aberdeen has a long standing association with university rowing competitions having sponsored the Oxford v Cambridge University Boat Race in the UK from 1999 – 2005. The company also continues to support the Aberdeen Universities Boat Race in Aberdeen, Scotland in their annual event which takes place every February.

About Presenting Sponsor — The Coca-Cola Company
The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE: KO) is the world's largest beverage company, refreshing consumers with more than 500 sparkling and still brands. Together with Coca-Cola, recognized as the world's most valuable brand, the Company's portfolio includes 14 billion dollar brands, including Diet Coke, Fanta, Sprite, Coca-Cola Zero, vitaminwater, Powerade, Minute Maid, Simply and Georgia Coffee. Globally, we are the No. 1 provider of sparkling beverages, juices and juice drinks and ready-to-drink teas and coffees. Through the world's largest beverage distribution system, consumers in more than 200 countries enjoy the Company's beverages at a rate of 1.6 billion servings a day. With an enduring commitment to building sustainable communities, our Company is focused on initiatives that protect the environment, conserve resources and enhance the economic development of the communities where we operate. For more information about our Company, please visit our website at http://www.thecoca-colacompany.com.