SIDNEY – A Sidney family is entrenched in their faith and protecting the country they love, honor and respect. Two sons have stepped up in seeking a way to make a difference in their lives and the lives of others.
Both were birthed under challenging events with one graduating Fairlawn High School this year as a junior.
The home of Gunnar A. and Stephanie Weymer of Sidney was greatly decorated inside and out recently when their military sons, Gunnar J. and Gideon Weymer, returned home. They were gathering for a celebration of Gideon’s graduation from basic training.
Their flag of the U.S. Marines waved proudly in front of their house.
At a large dining table, Gunnar, 21, and Gideon, 17, were joined by their parents, sister, Gabbi, 19, and Autumn, 18, the wife of the younger Gunnar, for the interview. The walls held many family pictures, their children’s awards, and symbolic religious images that depict their life’s priorities.
“We have a lot of family that’s been in the military. Their grandfathers (have) and cousins (currently) have served in the military. It’s something that’s been important to this family,” Stephanie said.
Gabbi jokingly indicated she will let her brothers represent the family in military service as she has other plans.
They spoke of cousins Christian Jenkins, who attended Houston High School locally, and Amanda Vincent, who was selected as Marine of the Year. Vincent was away from her desk when a gunman opened fire in her base office in Chattanooga, Tennessee, on July 16, 2015, when five Marines were killed.
For the Weymers, it was the Gunnar enlisting in June 2017 shortly after he graduated from Christian Academy School (CAS). His devotion to the Marines has led to his Lance Corporal E-3 rank in a short time. He and Autumn were married last Aug. 3 in a courthouse service; however, a full church wedding is planned for July 15 in North Carolina.
Gideon decided some time ago he wanted to join the Marines because of his brother. Remarkable self-discipline led him to accelerate his high school requirement for an early graduation. This past November, Weymer completed all his high school academic requirements and finished attending classes halfway through his junior year.
Prior to the start of his sophomore year at CAS, Gideon transferred to Fairlawn High School. The school had a larger sports program and a wider selection of classes. He began working out in the school’s weight room and he wanted to play soccer.
His father said, “He started a 4:30 a.m. weight training program, all on his own; he was going to classes during the day, working at Culver’s 38 hours a week, and would do his homework after closing the store.”
During this time, Gideon began physical training in the delayed entry program in Piqua.
His mother said Gideon started taking more classes, even bypassing study halls during the school day. Working with school officials, he enrolled in online courses that would allow early graduation.
Fairlawn Superintendent Jeff Hobbs, at first, wasn’t sure of the motivation of Gideon to graduate early. It would require the signatures of Hobbs and Gideon’s parents to allow the graduation.
During a recent school board meeting, Hobbs said, “At first, I didn’t want to sign because I thought it was just something that wasn’t that serious. After seeing what he was achieving, coming to know the young man better, and talking with his mother who said this was his goal to join the Marines, I was glad to sign. He is just a wonderful young man and I wish him the best.”
During the recent visit, Gideon was home from an 11-week recruit basic training camp at Parris Island, South Carolina. As the youngest member of his unit, he earned the honor of being in the 300 Club, the highest level of combat fitness. Also, he scored nearly atop two categories of the Iron Man contest at the camp.
His brother is part of a company that supports the infantry and is qualified on a 50mm machine gun. He is also certified in Marine Combat Training and Military Operational School.
Both men have earned the Eagle Globe and Anchor medal through their achievements in basic training. Gideon is the youngest recruit to have earned the award. His drill instructor gave Gideon his personal medal on stage during the graduation ceremony.
As a family, the Weymers attend House of the Rock Fellowship Church in Piqua. The father has undergone training as a pastor.
The brothers openly display their faith while in camp. Gunnar being a Protestant Christian is a lay reader handling prayer requests from other Marines. He said, “I believe God called me to be in the Marines.”
Gideon is more private in his faith, but it’s not anything he hides. He stated fellow recruits know if others are truly faithful.
Stephanie said the family’s faith was a major factor in bringing both of her sons into the world.
Gunnar was a tubal pregnancy and hospital officials figured a full birth was questionable, at best. The family prayed strong and Stephanie did deliver in what she said was a blessing from God.
With Gideon, Stephanie said she was unaware she was pregnant, even though the physical signs seemed familiar. Different steps were taken.
“They did an ultrasound and couldn’t find him. The hospital supervisor wanted me to have a D&C (Dilation and Curettage), but I said no, I didn’t care what they said, there was a baby there. God has revealed it to me.” she said.
She added, “He (her husband) wanted to go home and pray about it. Since he is the Godly head of our home, that’s what we did. He’s the reason my faith is as strong as it is.”
The father and husband said, “I heard him clear as day when we were praying.”
The family stood by the revelation and Gideon was born months later.
“That shows me that there is always someone looking over you,” the father said.
The brothers have different views of the future. Gunnar is hoping for a career in the military stating he wanted to protect the country and provide a safe home for his family (pointing at his wife). Police work would be of interest if he ever exits the Marines.
Gideon has yet to experience full military service, but wants to see how the Marine life unfolds before committing to a defined future.
The brothers agreed that the others in their company are also their “brothers.” Men from all walks of life, joining together for a common goal is motivating.
Gunnar said, “You win as a team. You lose as a team. We are all brothers when it comes to the Marines.”
The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.