JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD - Steven Harper has always dreamed of serving his country.
But for so long, his weight, not his mindset, held him back.
"I was big," Harper, who previously weighed more than 350 pounds, said. "A lot of people told me 'you're too big, Steven.'"
For a long time, he couldn't get anyone to take his quest to join the Army seriously. That is until he met Sergeant Jesse Santos. Santos told Harper he could help him lose the weight, but that the journey wouldn't be easy.
"I believe he was over 20 percent body fat," Harper said. "But I told him not to give up."
Santos invited Harper to train in classic Army fashion until he was light enough to enlist. Santos told Harper as long as he showed commitment, Santos would continue to push him.
Harper gave it his all. And the more he ran, the more he shrank, eventually losing 130 pounds. Enough to enlist in the Army.
"I mean, I really feel like I can actually do something," Harper said.
Harper leaves for basic training this fall.