Parker: America’s heroes and the season of Thanksgiving

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State Rep. Tan Parker

November begins the season of gratitude as we gather to honor our heroic veterans and celebrate the season of Thanksgiving.

Every November 11 since 1938, Americans celebrate Veterans Day. It is on this national holiday that we pause as a nation to pay tribute for their sacrifices, courage, hope, and endless love of country.

While keeping veterans at the forefront of our gratitude stretches far beyond one single day, I prayerfully hope our country never wavers in its appreciation for every brave man and woman who has served.  They are our greatest heroes whose debt can never be fully repaid by our country and all of us who are blessed to call America home.

While every veteran has a unique story of service, each also has a beginning – a calling, reason, or inspiration to start the military journey.

In 2009, your Texas Legislature created the Texas Armed Services Scholarship Program (TASSP) to encourage students to participate in Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) programs at Texas institutions of higher education and serve in the Texas Army National Guard, Texas Air Force National Guard or become commissioned officers in any branch of the armed services.  As a legislator, I have the honor to nominate one student who meets specified academic and future military service criteria.

This year’s nominee is an aspiring hero with great plans for serving our nation. Slater Eatwell, a 2019 graduate of Flower Mound High School and a current student at Texas A&M, has a history of academic excellence and giving back. He has an impressive work ethic as well as a strong spirit for volunteerism frequently helping underserved areas by painting schools, planting gardens, cleaning surrounding roadways, and engaging in food drive programs to nourish the hungry. Slater has a tremendous heart to recognize and take care of the needs of others despite any challenges that must be faced.

Slater’s dream is to serve in the United States Air Force as a fighter pilot.  I am thankful he granted permission to share these recent, and inspiring, words after receiving the scholarship.

Slater Eatwell

During my senior year of high school, I was deferred freshman admittance into Texas A&M University and left with a feeling of defeat for some time. Admittance into A&M had been my goal for the longest time, so that was disheartening. Yet, I stayed on the path of my goal of being admitted by accepting the PSA option and attending Tarleton State University. While not originally the school I wanted to attend, I highly enjoyed my time there and found an opportunity to build myself as a leader in the Corps of Cadets and Air Force ROTC. I met exceptional peers, amazing professors, and found myself becoming more of the man I wanted to be. I pushed myself to do the best I could in the Corps, Air Force ROTC, and Academics earning the awards of The President’s List and Corps Distinguished Student for a 4.0 GPA both semesters. This fall I was able to complete the PSA option by transferring to Texas A&M University and joining the esteemed Texas A&M Corps of Cadets.

By receiving this scholarship, I hope to continue my path to becoming a commissioned officer in the United States Air Force. My goals are to make changes in the world and help those who are in desperate need of it. My advice to anyone who finds themselves in a similar situation is to strive for greatness and fight through the mental blocks. Do not tell yourself that you are not good enough or that just because you had to deviate from your path the world is over. Just settle down, keep your nose to the grindstone, and push back onto the path towards your goals. Nothing is impossible, even when you think it is.

Wise words to live by that also speak to the season. As your state representative, I have witnessed people of all ages helping one another in a spirit of Thanksgiving that is alive in their hearts and deeds each day of the year. Our communities are full of people who wake up with a calling to make a difference.

As we celebrate this holiday, Beth and I wish upon you a season of bountiful harvest and great blessings.  And may this November bring reflection of the strength within each of us to make a difference in our families, neighborhoods, and communities and in turn, inspire a circle of gratitude for the betterment of all.

It is an honor to serve you in the Texas House and work together for a stronger Texas. Please share your thoughts by contacting me at 972.724.8477 or [email protected].  Please follow me on Facebook and Twitter @tparker63 as well as Instagram @tanparkertexas.

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