When Scott County native Samuel “Adam” Crump was completing high school, he never pictured himself attending West Point, the United States Army’s military academy. He never pictured himself speaking in front of thousands of people and shaking the hand of a former U.S. President.
“I was not a good kid,” Crump said. “I never realized there was a positive outlet.”
It was not until Crump saw some of his former classmates, who went on to serve in the military and returned home, that he realized the military might be an option for him.
“I joined the Army for extrinsic reasons,” Crump said. “I was searching for autonomy.”
After graduating from Scottsburg High School in 2009, Crump joined the National Guard for 18 months before an opportunity was offered to him to attend West Point.
“When I joined the Army, I didn’t know West Point existed. I didn’t want to go to college. I never thought it was an opportunity for me,” Crump said.
He filled out an application and was accepted into West Point’s preparatory program, where prior service soldiers, athletes, and other student groups, spend one year intensively working on bettering writing and math skills to boost SAT scores
“It was senior year of high school on steroids,” Crump said.
For the next four years, Crump applied his new lease on academics and his skills of thinking quickly on his feet to rigor of West Point’s sociology program.
“I enjoyed it,” Crump said about sociology. “I enjoy examining it from an academic sense — what can society do to make life better for people.”
In May, Crump will graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree and college debt free. As part of the requirements to attend West Point, he will have to complete five years of service as a commissioned U.S. Army officer. He will go through officer training for about 18 weeks. Soon, he will find out his first duty assignment.
“I really enjoy helping people and mentoring people,” Crump said.
While at West Point, Crump was given the opportunity to perform during special ceremonies. He would read a script during the event using his theatrical skills and deep sounding voice. It was during one of the ceremonies that Crump met the 2017 Sylvanus Thayer Award recipient, former President George W. Bush.
“I’m nobody special,” Crump said. “I was so focused on everything going well.”
Outside of West Point, Crump enjoys the outdoors — a passion he held since his childhood growing up in Scott County. He teaches people how to snowboard while enjoying the outdoors.
“I love it,” Crump said. “I love being in nature.”
Through it all, Crump wants students to take what he has learned and find hope.
“I’ve worked really hard,” Crump said. “I learned through my experience that there’s always a way to transpose those skills and better yourself and your community.”