As commander of a SAL squadron affiliated with Post 555 in Midway City, Calif., I have met and worked with many fine people. I am honored to say that I have an individual in my squadron who is exceptional.
A year or so ago a soft spoken, well-mannered young man, Nickie Eustace, came in with his father, Michael Eustace, to join the Sons and Legion, respectively. Nickie soon became acting sergent of arms and is now second vice commander. Nickie was perfect for sergent of arms since at 13 years old he had already been two-time California state champion, four-time national champion and two-time All-Star Pankration Champion so keeping order should be no problem. (Pankration is a style of mixed martial arts.)
Much to our surprise while we were all at convention It seems Nickie had a little business of his own to attend to. Nickie and his parents drove to Wisconsin for the weekend so that Nickie could try out for the USA Pankration Team Trials.
In his first match 13-year-old Nickie was up against a 19-year-old champion wrestler. Not shying away from the competition Nickie proceeded to get into it with the wrestler, at which time he was actually picked up and body slammed. Somehow keeping his wits and with instinct kicking in, he started to pursue his opponent as his mom said “as fiercely as a lion.” Within minutes, Nickie had his opponent in a submission hold and forced him to submit.
Now as if that wasn’t enough, his next match was against a 21-year-old brown belt. Again not backing away from the challenge, Nickie proceeded to move against his opponent with such precision that within minutes he had overcome his opponent and with a choke hold made him tap out. With this victory, Nickie won his spot on the USA Pankration Team and will be competing in Russia, representing America in November 2014.
I cannot think of a finer young man to represent the USA and the Sons of the American Legion in Russia and he shall go with our support and best wishes. I know he will return a champion.