Ever since he was in elementary school, Max Safranek has known he wanted to help others and serve and protect his community and country. After being elected as governor at Texas Boys State in Austin last June, this 17-year-old has now decided to pursue a military path.
Safranek, who’s graduating from Denton High School, applied to the service academies for the U.S. Army, Air Force and Navy, spending much of his time deciding which direction would be most fulfilling in working toward his goal to become a military officer. Ultimately, he chose to accept admission to the Air Force Academy in Colorado.
“Once I was accepted to all three Department of Defense service academies, I was surprisingly torn between which branch I wanted to join,” Safranek said. “I interviewed Navy SEALs, an Army Ranger, a Green Beret, several Special Tactics Officers and high-ranking Naval, Marine and Air Force officers. At the end of everything, I noticed that my conversations with Air Force personnel resonated with me the most.”
Basic training is scheduled to start for Safranek on June 25. He said he believes the Air Force Academy will provide an unparalleled opportunity to become a commissioned leader of integrity.
“The USAFA will facilitate the continued development of my character, refine my leadership skills, and equip me with the foundation to become the best military officer possible,” Safranek said. “I feel that wherever I might find myself in the future, the USAFA will have provided me with an essential foundation that will help ensure that I am successful.”
Safranek said his ambition to become a military officer stemmed from his relationship with his grandfather, who served as an ensign in the Navy during the Vietnam War. This ambition only grew after comprehending the events that took place on 9/11 and gaining appreciation for troops who fought in the war on terror.
“One thing that struck me was how my father spoke with respect and admiration for the special operations personnel,” Safranek said. “The work they performed was dangerous but rewarding.”
His family has expressed pride in his achievements and the belief that he has set out a clear and concise road for success.
“When I think back on my son’s incredible achievements, it’s easy to get lost in his myriad successes and lose touch with the thing that first launched him on his journey toward excellence in virtually all his endeavors,” said John Safranek, Max’s father. “That singular quality, which Max nurtured and coaxed into complete fullness and fruition, is inside each young person and eagerly waits to be harnessed — tenacity in pursuit.”
Max Safranek said he hopes to inspire others in his community to work hard to achieve their own goals and help others around them.
“I always try to push the people around me to be the best versions of themselves, whether that be physically or mentally,” Safranek said. “I hope that the legacy that I have left in my community, church, school, Scout troop and Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps detachment will show others that even as a kid, you can accomplish much more than you think possible.
“I believe that if you work hard to help others in everything that you do, and never settle for average, then you will find yourself not only successful but also happy.”