CCU Athlete Receives Military Honors during War on Terrorism

The war-ravaged Al Anbar province of Iraq is a far cry from the manicured soccer field near Denver where Marine Corps Sergeant Keith Ives used to spend his time. These days, the Colorado Christian University (CCU) midfielder has traded his navy and gold jersey for desert camouflage and serves in a logistical support role as ammo chief for Task Force MP. In recognition for his outstanding service, Ives was recently awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal.

Joining the CCU Cougars in 2004, Ives brought with him an influential, team-focused style of play and sportsmanship. Off the field, he became known for his eagerness to take leadership roles in helping others. Always the first to open the door or lend a hand, Ives spent much of his time volunteering on the board of the university's Student Athletic Advisory Committee and even competed in cross country meets when the once-depleted team needed a fifth runner.

Orders that his Marine Corps Reserve unit was being sent to Iraq arrived in 2005 at the beginning of Ives' sophomore year. Despite missing two weeks of classes while taking an Arabic language training course, and numerous other days preparing to mobilize, he managed to complete the soccer season, academic semester, and also to marry his fiance before deploying in December.

Ives originally signed on with the Marine Corps Reserve after high school -- adding to his family's rich tradition of military service -- and headed to basic training, where his character and resolve were honed for such a time as his current deployment. "My time at Parris Island [a basic training location] proved more challenging than I had ever imagined," said Ives. But he affirms the Corp's proven methodology for developing cohesive units that wear the badge of courage, honor, and commitment.

Scheduled to return to CCU in the spring of 2007, Ives plans to complete a degree in global studies and resume his position on the Cougar playing fields. "CCU is proud of Sergeant Ives," said university president Bill Armstrong. "We applaud his service to our country and look forward with enthusiasm to his return."