On Nov. 9, the day before the 233rd birthday of the U.S. Marine Corps, eight off-duty Marines were credited with saving lives at a Lake Forest motel.
The young Devil Dogs were preparing to celebrate their first birthday as Marines when a fire broke out at the America’s Best Value Inn just before 8 a.m. The Marines saw flames and smoke in the building and raced room to room warning the other guests in the motel. One Marine was credited with carrying an elderly man to safety.
Several newspaper articles and television reports called the young men heroes. The title Marine is enough said.
No serious injuries were reported and no lives were lost. One firefighter was treated for heat exhaustion and one Marine was treated for smoke inhalation.
The story got national coverage, but it also has a local flare. One of those Marines was Pfc. Jed Stock.
Stock graduated from Ramona High School in June. He was a cadet in the Ramona High School Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (NJROTC) unit for four years. He enlisted in the Marine Corps and, because of his NJROTC credits, he entered as private first class.
Stock was the commanding officer of the RHS NJROTC for the 2007-2008 school year, his senior year. During his tenure as CO, the unit qualified for the state championship for the first time in school history and was selected as the Most Improved Unit in the Nation.
While a cadet at Ramona High School, Stock received the Surface Navy Association Leadership Award and the Military Officers Association of America Excellence Award.
“I knew when I first met him he was going to be a Marine, and a damn good one,” said RHS NJROTC Lt. Cmdr. Mike Ernst. “His ability to conduct military drill is outstanding.”
Stock said little after the life-saving rescue.
“We knew that there was a problem and something had to be done,” he said. “We just did what needed to be done.”
Stock’s actions spoke loudly.