Kurtis Matthew Porter, 20, of Blossburg, a recent graduate of NP-Mansfield High School, wanted to join the Army, and applied while still in high school. But there was one hold-up — his weight.

When he was told he needed to lose nearly 100 pounds, the 5’11” senior decided he would do it.

Porter said he started running, and decreased his food intake.

“It was hard, I ate and I ran, a lot,” he said.

Porter said he ran every day, even two to three times a day towards the end of the training.

Now a lean 187 pounds, Porter said the 96-pound weight loss and ensuing transformation took a year, but was worth it.

“I thought I really needed to earn what I got,” he said.

Porter shipped out to basic training Wednesday, Sept. 4 to Ft. Sill, Okla. He said that he is excited to be serving, even though he has never been farther from home than across the border into New York State.

He will become an air defense battle management operator, working on jet and rocket engines. Porter, who has always enjoyed working on engines, said he was interested in it the moment he saw it.

Porter, the son of Scott and Tiffany Rossell of Blossburg, is not the only one in his family who is serving or has served in the military. Porter’s uncle Matthew Bartlett of Wellsboro served in the Army, and two of his nine siblings plan to join the military, too.

His two younger brothers are both planning on joining the military following graduation from high school. His brother Jakob, a senior who will graduate in 2020, plans to join the Army like his big brother.