Kaline Hoppe felt pain after returning from the training ground, not realizing that she had broken several bones. But she went through the pain to get in shape.
MONROE, Mich. — Kalyn Hoppe was midway through basic training in the Marine Corps when she broke both her hips and her pelvis.
For some it would be the end of the road. But the 18-year-old from Monroe, Michigan didn’t let that stop her from getting in shape.
She didn’t even realize how badly she had hurt her until a couple of days before graduation. She was in pain, but she could ignore the pain even during the hardest part of basic training.
It was all to achieve her goal of serving her country, a dream she had right out of high school.
“I wanted to do something to better myself, and as despicable as it sounds, I wanted to do something to better my community and the world I live in,” Kalin said.
She felt the Marine Corps would be the perfect place for that.
However, it took some time to convince her mom.
“I thought she was joking,” Kalina’s mother, Stephanie Hoppe, said.
But Stephanie changed her mind after an informative chat with the recruiter, and soon Kailyn was getting off the bus at Parris Island Recruit Depot in South Carolina, trying her best to hide her dizziness.
“I know most people would be scared or nervous, but I tried not to laugh,” Kalin said.
In the first few weeks, she got used to running, push-ups and long hikes. She definitely found time to write letters home.
“This is my letterbox,” Stephanie said. “I didn’t get a letter every day, but I got a letter every day in an envelope. So I have a letter from every day, even if it was just a little,” said Stephanie.
One thing Kaline did not mention in these letters was an accident that happened during one of their hikes from the range.
“I don’t really remember how it felt, I just remember the pain afterwards,” Kalin said.
Not only does she not remember the immediate pain, but she also doesn’t know how she broke the bones. But graduation was just around the corner, so she decided to push through the pain despite the medical care available to her.
With three broken bones that made the basic act of walking excruciatingly painful, she faced the final challenge of boot camp: the Crucible, a 54-hour ordeal that includes combat scenarios, food and sleep restrictions and a 9-mile hike.
While Kalina said her broken bones screamed at her in the final miles of the hike, the sense of accomplishment she felt after graduating made up for it.
“I couldn’t walk on the front deck, but I got to sit and watch my sisters graduate, and it was one of the best feelings ever,” she said.
And it was at the graduation that Stephanie finally found out about Kalina’s injuries. At first she was horrified to learn that her daughter had been hurt. But when she found out what Kalina had overcome to get to that front deck, she saw how strong she really was.
“She’s my hero,” Stephanie said. She’s a role model and she’s the strongest person I know.’
Kalina is now engaged in physical therapy before starting the next round of training. She will be cleared once she can run three miles in under 30 minutes. After that, she will go to Florida to major in aviation.
And she is very excited to begin a long and fruitful career in the Marine Corps.