Heroes Among Us: Delaney Bourlakov

Heroes Among Us: Delaney Bourlakov
Delaney with her father (Source: Bourlakov)
Delaney with her father (Source: Bourlakov)
Delaney Bourlakov (Source: WALB)
Delaney Bourlakov (Source: WALB)

DOUGHERTY CO., GA (WALB) - WALB and Montlick and Associates would like to recognize the Heroes Among Us.

Each month, we will spotlight an active duty man or woman, a veteran, or a fallen hero whose service to our country goes beyond the battleground.

Delaney Bourlakov is a first lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps and has dedicated her free time to serving the Albany and Dougherty County community.

"Albany is my 19th house," said Bourlakov. "And I'm 25 years old. It's been an adventure."

Bourlakov is not your average young woman.

She's lived in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, California and Vermont, and she was born in Japan.

She grew up in a military family.

Her mom and dad served in the Navy.

Her aunt and uncle were in the Army.

And her grandfather is a Marine.

"My parents were very honest with both my sister and I when we started high school that they weren't going to be able to help too much with college, so definitely start looking into scholarships," said Bourlakov.

So, she did.

Determined to get her bachelor's degree, she applied for the U.S. Marine Corps ROTC Scholarship and got it.

She was one of just two women in her district to receive the scholarship, which she used to go to Norwich University, a military college in Vermont.

"I studied criminal justice," she said. "So I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice. And I also did a pretty large focus on Spanish."

But every summer during those four years of college, Delaney was also training to prepare herself for her military future.

She traveled to Moscow to learn Russian, and to Turkey to work in the U.S. Embassy.

And after that, she made it to the Marine Corps Logistics Base as a first lieutenant adjutant.

"I'm the youngest officer out of everyone, which has been a challenge in and of itself," said Bourlakov. "And I'm the only female officer on this side of the base."

But she didn't let those tiny details stop her from competing in not one but two High Intense Tactical Training Competitions with other top men and women from each base.

"(It was) grueling. Absolutely grueling," she said. "Kettlebell workouts. It's pretty much to the point where, how can I lift this? I have nothing left. But finding what's left in that tank."

Bourlakov said she tapped into her mental strength to make it to 7th place out of 18 competitors her second year.

And when she's not working out, she's volunteering and leaving her mark on Albany.

She's part of the community theater here, she coaches basketball and t-ball for Sherwood, and she reads to 2nd graders at the International Studies Elementary School every week.

She also volunteers with Samaritan's Purse by helping Albany rebuild from January's tornadoes.

Bourlakov said volunteering and helping out those in need was something instilled in her as a young child and is only strengthened with her role as a Marine.

We're not just out there fighting the bad guys. We're absolutely out there to make a difference, and help out, and take care of our local community as well as our worldwide community. Whether that's in Haiti, or the Philippines, or here in Albany. I think that's something that a lot of the marines here realize:  'Hey, even if I get out in four years and never get deployed, I can say that I walked away and did something, or I felt like I very much contributed and lived up to the name Marine.'

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