All this Irish teen wanted to do was fight for America
“We had to use all our savings, plus I sold many of my own things together, like my Xbox, all my games, TV even my computer and a host of other stuff to the pay for it all,” added the young Irish man.
Late June, Dean was ready to start on the road to what hoped would be eventual induction into the U.S. Army.
He set off to New Jersey from Dublin. He spent a few days with his uncle who lives in New Jersey before he was due to begin his cadet camp. He was overly excited.
“I couldn’t wait to get started. What I always dreamed about was about to come true,” he said.
The day before Dean was due to begin his course he got a call that devastated him to the core.
The Ocean County Police Department told him the camp had been shut down and that the organizer, Baryla, was arrested on charges of distributing child pornography, impersonating a military officer and fraud.
“At first I thought it was a joke, that my father had set someone up to do it as a laugh, but when I realized it was for real I was just shocked. I was scared, heartbroken and most of all anger for being lied too. I felt betrayed,” Dean said.
Trying to come to terms with the major disappointment he was experiencing, Dean wanted to go home but he had a non-refundable flight. He stayed the five weeks with an Irish American family that was also duped by Baryla.
“Kathleen Loughran from Lakewood, New Jersey, who after all that happening with her children not getting to attend the camp took me in, gave me a bed and food to eat,” he said.
After hearing the news of what happened to Dean, the U.S. Army Cadet Academy in Millersburg contacted his father and offered Dean a place in their camp.
“It was a great offer but we would have to pay all over again, and with little to no money we just couldn’t manage it,” he said.
Baryla had been running camps for many years pretending that he was a former military officer. The Ocean County prosecutor’s office told the Irish Voice on Tuesday that Baryla’s case is still pending grand jury action. Baryla is out on bail. The camp has been shut down.
After arriving back in Ireland, with no military experience under his belt, Dean put his head down and focused on coming back to the U.S. this year to attend the cadet camp in Millersburg.
In an effort to earn enough money to come back Dean works part time in a computer store, earning about $40 a shift. His father is a stay at home dad.
When asked if he ever thought about joining the Irish Army he said he did, but he doesn’t see the point.
“You learn all the solider skills but you would rarely get to use them. You don't get adventure, skills or get to see the world like you would in the U.S. Army,” Dean said.
Looking ahead to the future, Dean is hoping to start college in the New Mexico Military Institute in the next year or two, but finances are a big issue. Although he is working as much as he can in between his studies, the cost of a year’s study in the college in close to $20,000 according to Dean.
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