Richmond teen achieves lifelong goal of becoming U.S. Marine

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Richmond teen achieves lifelong goal of becoming U.S. Marine

By Mike Kinney

About two dozen people lined the driveway holding American flags as the car carrying Brandon Holman turned the corner. Then came the cheers, which drew the attention of neighbors who joined in the celebration.

All of the fanfare on Saturday, June 1, was for Holman, who recently graduated from high school and also achieved his dream of becoming a U.S. Marine.

Richmond police Chaplains DeWanda Joseph, Willie May Davis and Ed Davis attended the celebration at Holman’s home upon an invitation from Holman’s aunt, Antionette Randle. They described an inspiring gathering for a young man who’s made big sacrifices to achieve a lifelong goal.

Having just returned from Boot Camp graduation in San Diego, a surprised Holman smiled as he took in the warm welcoming. Holman exited the car and walked directly to his grandmother with extended arms. Family and friends circled around them, joining the embrace.

Holman is a Richmond native and former El Cerrito High School student who dreamed of becoming a Marine since the age of 3. During his junior year at El Cerrito High, he participated in ROTC. After discussion with his family, he transferred to Sylvester Green Academy, where he earned credits and graduated in January of 2024.

“Brandon comes from a tight knit family and the love demonstrated on Saturday…was heartwarming,” the chaplains said.

The space in the small backyard area was decorated with flags and an assortment of foods. During the event, Richmond police Lt. Ernest Loucas and the chaplains presented Holman with a Certificate of Recognition from the Richmond Police Department. Family and friends shared stories about Holman. He listened intently as a former Marine offered recommendations about what’s to come.

One of his friends said Brandon inspired him to get into shape with the goal of enlisting in the Marines. 

“Brandon has always known what he wanted for his life, has maintained a 4.0 GPA and is a leader,” his aunt said, adding that he’s also a “loving and kind youngster.”

Holman comes from a family of successful people, including athletes. His grandfather Nunu Randle was a professional Boxer, and his uncle Redell Randle was a professional baseball player with the Atlanta Braves.

Chaplain Joseph said the RPD Chaplains were honored to be invited to take part in the celebration.

“We wanted to celebrate more of what we want to see in our beloved community of Richmond,” she said. “Gun Violence is not the narrative…life, hope and the accomplishments our youth are achieving are, yet these are rarely highlighted.”  

Holman will soon begin his tour of duty with the U.S. Marine Corp. at Camp Pendleton.