Introducing Andrew (Drew) Heidl, a 2020 graduate of DePere High School, and a recipient of a Ben Jackson Foundation Travel Award. Heidl is headed to basic training on Sunday, June 14, 2020 to Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, TX.

Drew Heidl (left) and his twin brother Noah.

Like many high school graduates this year, due to the COVID-19 quarantine, Heidl missed out on some typical end of the year Senior activities. “It was unfortunate the things we missed, but I came to terms with it, spent time with the people who matter, and knew that I could choose to be happy and focus on what I could control,” Heidl says. Heidl’s attitude, introspection, lessons learned, and appreciation for time with family before he leaves couldn’t be more applaudable, and will certainly prove valuable as he begins training to be a U.S. Airman!

Heidl will spend about 6 months in San Antonio completing basic training, taking special warfare development courses, and his assessment selection course. He understands that his mental and emotional development, leadership skills and peer review, as well as his physical performance, will all play an important part in the job he ultimately lands.

With his family cheering him on, Heidl says he will miss them, but also looks forward to seeing their new paths, the different directions all their lives will take, and hearing from them on how they are learning and growing, too. Heidl’s mother, Kristin Nemetz, says that he is very close to his family, siblings, and especially his identical twin brother, Noah. “[Being a twin] has brought a special dimension to his personality. They have always looked out for each other and are very close.” Heidl has had several family members also serve in the military over the years.

Heidl’s school and sports careers, his character, and his unwavering drive have helped lead to him to this new chapter in his life. Kristin describes a young Heidl as a kind kid who loved hanging out with his brother, full of laughs, and fun to be around. As a young man, he loves working out with buddies and family, hiking, camping and almost anything outdoors, spending time with family and friends, and “chillin’ in his hammock.” He has an inner drive and vision that inspires everyone around him. He is a natural leader and not afraid to take on challenges while inspiring everyone else to do their very best. His coaches always loved his ability to fire up his team, but also have a kind word of extra encouragement if he saw someone needed it.

Kristin says she will miss her son’s excitement for life that gives energy to the whole family, but she is excited to watch his journey unfold. “The inspiring thing about Drew is he has an ability to always take his goals and visions and take them to fruition. No matter what Drew does, he does it wholeheartedly. You don’t question a vision like that. Even if he is directed down a long road, he will be patient enough to see it through to the end.”

We would like to thank Andrew Heidl for his service and wish him the best of luck in San Antonio!