A fine example of selflessness

Published 8:51 pm Thursday, March 19, 2015

So what were you doing during your free time as a senior in high school? Hanging out at the mall or the video arcade? Fishing? Watching television?

Even the most driven of us could probably not answer that question with the dizzying list of responsibilities that keeps King’s Fork High School senior Caleb Parson busy when he’s not at school.

The Air Force Junior ROTC member was recently named the Military Child of the Year for the Coast Guard by Operation Homefront, a national nonprofit organization that provides emergency assistance to military families. But his JROTC duties are only the tip of the iceberg.

Email newsletter signup

Parsons serves as surrogate father for his three younger siblings while the youths’ Coast Guard father is based in Florida and their Air Force Reserve mother is stationed in the Middle East.

He’s a senior patrol leader for the Boy Scouts, having attained the rank of Eagle Scout. He is on the swim and cross-country teams at King’s Fork High School, where he won the Co-Captain Varsity Award, Junior Varsity Award and Sportsmanship Award.

And he has somehow found time to go on a mission trip to Belize with the Open Door Church youth group.

All that comes on top of taking on the role of single father in his parents’ absence — cooking, cleaning and making sure everyone does their homework and gets to school on time.

It’s a schedule that would leave many adults exhausted, let alone a teenager trying to finish his last year of high school and prepare himself for four years at the United States Military Academy in West Point.

But Parsons, by all accounts, has done it with style and grace, and based on his record of success, there’s little doubt that he will take that same style and grace with him to West Point.

What a fine example of selflessness this young man has set — not just for his peers, but also for those of us adults who find ourselves in circumstances that seem overwhelming.

We offer him our hearty congratulations and best wishes for his future. Somehow, we imagine we’ll be hearing more good things about him in the years to come.