Photo courtesy of: Ohio University Southern
Courtany and Adam Boyer
Graduation activities are typically full of hugs and happy tears. But, for one Ohio University Southern graduate, the occasion brought a little more excitement than usual this past Thursday evening as the campus celebrated its Graduate Recognition Ceremony.
Courtany Boyer was overwhelmed with emotion as she readied to put on her cap and gown to be recognized for completing the requirements for her Bachelor of Science in Applied Management degree. The reason - her family concealed a surprise visit from, Adam Boyer, a Staff Sgt. in the West Virginia National Guard, who obtained leave from Ft. Bragg, North Carolina, where he is stationed in pre-deployment status.
Adam Boyer said he could not miss his wife’s big day.
“I am beyond proud,” he said. “She is the first generation to graduate in her family and I’m just so very proud of her.”
The couple has been together for six years. Adam, an officer in the Huntington Police Department, said Courtany decided to pursue her degree in applied management at Ohio Southern “to work toward a more safe career.”
Courtany Boyer had worked as a Lawrence County, Ohio, deputy sheriff/corrections officer and is now a special deputy with the Department. Adam Boyer said with both of them in public safety, they wanted to look for changes so both of them would not “be in the line of duty.”
Courtney Boyer said the main reason she decided to go back to finish her college degree was to illustrate to her four children the importance of education.
“That’s something you will have forever and you can do so much with career-wise,” she said. As a mom of four children, ranging in from 12 years of age to 3 months, Courtany said there were many obstacles facing her as she worked on her college studies: being a police and military wife, shuttling kids to sports and school activities, selling a home and preparing for Adam’s upcoming deployment. She figured her children “won’t be able to figure out an excuse not to go to college when the time comes,” after witnessing her complete her degree.
During the on-campus ceremony in Ironton, Adam Boyer was surrounded by relatives and the couple’s four children: Ryker Boyer, age 3 months; Carter Boyer, age 4; Aspen James, age 8; and Dawson James, age 12. “He is absolutely incredible with all of our kids, biological and not biological - none of that matters in our household,” she said. “I want my kids to know that they have options, and I’ll do my best alongside my husband to lead them in the right path.
Together, the Boyers try to stress to their children the importance of giving back to the community.
“By being in law enforcement, we try to not only show them that we can individually help make a community better, but also to show them the sacrifices that first responders and their families must make in order to make a difference in the lives of others,” Courtany Boyer said.
With a whirlwind trip to celebrate his wife’s college accomplishments, Adam Boyer had to return to North Carolina to fulfill his military obligation. Courtney Boyer appreciated the efforts he and the family took to surprise her.
“Apparently my husband found out weeks before that he was able to come to the ceremony, but didn’t want to tell me because military orders can be so unpredictable,” she explained. “He told my sister and brother-in-law, and an aunt from Nashville who came to watch me graduate and they kept the surprise very well. My sister even went as far as telling me “I can video chat him if he has time during the ceremony so that he can see you graduate” to help keep the surprise visit under wraps.
The couple embraced while the family and other onlookers watched in the lobby of the Bowman Auditorium, minutes before the ceremony began.
“I felt like my knees were going to buckle and my heart was going to burst when I saw him. I cried like a baby and just held him in my arms. I was so beyond happy and felt so loved,” said Courtany.
The new graduate offers advice to other parents who think they can’t manage all the constraints of raising a family while going to college.
“Find a support system to watch your kiddos while you take a few hours of classes each week. There are day and evening classes at Ohio University Southern and online classes as well,” Courtany Boyer said. “I'm here to tell you that you have options. Don't let anyone tell you any different. You are stronger than you think; especially when you are given no other choice than to be strong.
“You only have one life, do what you love and live the way you want to - no one can live it for you or make those changes for you. Don’t waste your time on anyone who doesn’t root for you on the sidelines while you go for your dreams,” said Courtany Boyer. And, don’t ever settle - in friendships, relationships, or a career. Life is way too short for all of that negativity!”
Photo courtesy of: Ohio University SouthernThe Boyers kiss after the surprise visit