Houlton student receives Border Patrol’s National Explorer of the Year award
HOULTON, Maine — Christopher Violette, a 16-year-old sophomore at Houlton Middle-High School, has been named the national Border Patrol Explorer of the Year. Violette was selected out of a field of 48 Border Patrol programs for the prestigious award.
Violette, along with other members of the Houlton Explorer Post 1820, were lauded Tuesday evening during a special ceremony marking the 95th anniversary of the U.S. Border Patrol held in Houlton’s Monument Park.
“CJ has done an absolutely phenomenal job,” said Mark Phillips, public affairs liaison for the Border Patrol. “Out of 48 Border Patrol Explorers up for the award, he was selected for the national award. It speaks volumes to the character of people from this community. We are really proud of him.”
Violette was nominated for the award in February and traveled to Washington, D.C., in May with other members of the post to receive the Gerald Tisdale National Border Patrol Explorer of the Year Award.
The Explorer program is an off-shoot of the Boy Scouts of America Program, according to Phillips. It is geared toward any high school student who seeks an opportunity to work or be exposed to a profession before deciding to pursue it as a career.
According to its website, the Law Enforcement Explorer program, founded in 1973, is a worksite-based program for young men and women who plan to pursue careers in law enforcement. With more than 700 Explorers, CBP has one of the largest law enforcement Explorer programs in the federal government.
The Border Patrol has 28 posts, primarily in Texas, Arizona, and California. Exploring offers 14-20 year-olds the opportunity to work with dedicated law enforcement professionals throughout their formative years. It is designed to provide a training experience for the participants and to contribute to the development of skills that they will be able to employ in the law enforcement profession.
“We focus on law enforcement, and give them a two-week training class going over such things as law, defensive tactics and firearms, first aid/CPR and ethics,” Phillips said. “It runs the gamut. It’s 80 hours of intense training.”
Violette said he decided to join the program because he thought it would help him achieve his goal of joining the United States Marines after graduation. Among the topics he has learned while a member of the club are proper firearm techniques; how to deal with situational events to avoid violence; and a strong code of ethics.
He added that his impression of Border Patrol agents also has changed dramatically since he has been involved with the program. He said it has made him more aware of all of the activities the agency is involved with on a daily basis.