Yesterday, we invited you to get to know this year’s honorees for the Military Child of the Year® Award by introducing you to the recipient for the U.S. Air Force, Sarah Hesterman. Today, we shine the spotlight on Caleb Parsons, our Military Child of the Year for the United States Coast Guard.
“An unwavering role model in the face of adversity.”
As any high school senior can tell you, their last year of high school can be both thrilling and frightening. One comes of age, chapters close, new ones are being written. You are heading into the seemingly vast place full of opportunities and obstacles that we call the “grown up” world.
As the son of parents who both serve, Caleb had to assume adult responsibilities quickly. In the fall, while his classmates were focused on SATs and college applications, Caleb had to assume considerable responsibility for himself and his three siblings. His father was assigned to Maritime Enforcement in Florida, and then his mother received orders to Qatar. Undaunted, and with the help of his grandparents and family friends, Caleb took on the responsibility with a courage and confidence that awed all who already knew what a consummate leader and service-oriented person he was.
Well before he stepped up to this challenge, Caleb was known as a natural leader. Twice, he had been chosen for leadership roles from among his fellow students – once even BY his fellow students – for roles that had traditionally been awarded to students with more seniority or experience. He juggled all of his leadership responsibilities in both family and community while maintaining a 4.28 GPA with considerable Advanced Placement coursework and competing as a varsity swimmer.
Caleb attributes the strength he has to assume all of the responsibilities to his faith, which is central to his life. Caleb’s courage and grace under extraordinary pressure made a significant impression upon our committee as a profound example of the leadership and resiliency that are common traits among our military children.
Caleb’s future goal is to serve the country as a Special Forces officer, and he is the recipient of a Presidential Nomination (Service Connected) to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y.
Caleb is the oldest son of Coast Guard Petty Officer 1st Class Ward Douglas and Air Force Staff Sgt. Story Marie Parsons. His mother Story is currently deployed to Qatar, and his father is a Maritime Enforcement Specialist currently stationed in Florida. He has two younger brothers Isaac (16), Nathan (14), and younger sister Kyleah (9).
About Military Child of the Year: Recipients of the Military Child of the Year award are military children who have demonstrated themselves as exceptional citizens while facing the challenges of military family life. The average Military Child of the Year® Award Nominee has moved five times or more, experienced at least one parent deploy for 18 months or more, all while maintaining above average grades (often with honors), volunteering with service groups an average of 75 hours during the year, excelling in sports and theatre and /or music and holding leadership positions in school and community groups. The recipients are chosen by a selection panel made up of active-duty and retired military personnel, spouses of senior military leaders, veteran service organization leadership, teachers, and community members.