Most of us have been lucky enough to celebrate most of, if not all, our birthday surrounded by our family members and loved ones. However, sometimes people end up taking paths in life that lead them away from said family members, and when you're younger, milestone events in life can be hard without having family surrounding you.

Rochester teen Kirsten Burrill is stationed in Japan

Last fall, Kirsten Burrill started her senior year of high school at Spaulding High in Rochester. With just a few months to go of her final year in high school, Kirsten made the decision to graduate early and attend Marine Corps Boot Camp. At only 18 years old, Kirsten crushed boot camp and completed her training, finishing as the top graduate.

While her mother, Stephanie Emerson, was accepting her high school diploma on her behalf with Kirsten joining via FaceTime, Kirsten's classmates gave her a standing ovation in appreciation, even tossing in chants of "USA! USA!"

After completing training, Kirsten, who upon graduating from Boot Camp became Private First Class (PFC) Kirsten Burrill, had the opportunity to return home this past August for a short time before beginning her 3-year stint stationed in Japan. According to her mother, Kirsten is the youngest marine stationed in Japan right now and was honored with being part of the cake cutting ceremony to celebrate the Marine Corps upcoming 246th birthday on November 10. In fact, she was also recently promoted to Lance Corporal (LCpl)!

Stephanie Emerson

LCpl Kirsten Burrill will be celebrating her first birthday and holidays away from family

For the first time in Kirsten's life, she'll be celebrating her upcoming birthday, as well as Thanksgiving and Christmas, not only away from family but in a completely different country. In fact, she'll be in a completely different continent. In that respect, Stephanie has decided to send her a video of birthday wishes from home -- not only from her friends and family, but the entire community as a whole.

Stephanie Emerson

No matter the age, let alone a birthday but spending Thanksgiving and Christmas away from family -- holidays that are pretty much when families gather together from near and far the most -- is difficult. But add to the fact that Kirsten, a clearly ridiculously strong human to be able to leave school, uproot her life and become successful enough in the Marine Corps to already be promoted to Lance Corporal, is only 18 -- it's an extra layer of difficult.

Stephanie Emerson

If you want to send best wishes to LCpl Kirsten Burrill, birthday wishes, and just overall appreciation for everything she's done already to represent Northern New England and everything we're all about, send a message to her mother Stephanie on Facebook to submit a quick clip to be part of the video.

Semper Fi, LCpl Burrill. And THANK YOU for all you're already doing so far in your young, self-less career. The world needs more people like you.

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