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Suffolk teen’s sacrifice earns top honor

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Suffolk, Va. - From ROTC, to track, to Cub Scouts and mission trips, you can see why Operation Homefront chose Suffolk teenager Caleb Parsons as their Military Child of the Year.

"It`s very exciting," said the Kings Fork High School senior.  "It`s very humbling."

However, there is more to the 18-year-old's national recognition.  When both of his parents were deployed at the same time last year, Caleb chose to make a sacrifice for his family by caring for his three younger siblings.

"I hit my praying knees a whole lot, but I realized this was a very real situation with real consequences," he said.

Around Christmas last year, Caleb's parents signed over power of attorney to the 18-year-old.

"I still kind of pinch myself saying okay I`m actually home, we got through that," said Caleb's father, Ward Parsons.

Ward Parsons is home for a while from his Coast Guard assignment in Florida.  His wife, an Air Force reservist, is still deployed overseas.  He said it was a tough decision to allow Caleb to care for his brothers and sister, but he said Caleb took action to keep their family going while mom and dad were gone.

"He just kind of looks at me and he says I got it dad.  We can do this," the father said.

With help from other military families, Caleb got his siblings to school, after school activities, fed -- and in the bed by a decent time.

"Everybody was in bed by 9 o`clock most of the time," said Caleb.  "First couple of weeks wasn`t like that."

"We would go to the park a couple of times, and we would go over to other people`s houses a lot because that restricted time for us to fight," Caleb joked.

"It was boring but it was also fun at the same time," said Kyleah Parsons.

Caleb and his dad both say their faith in God and family is what has really kept them going strong.

"If you don`t have a solid rock to stand on, then you`ll crumble," said Ward Parsons.

After Caleb graduates from Kings Fork in the summer, he will be heading to West Point for Army Officer Training.

"I report June 29 and I graduate June 6, so I`ve got 23 days of woo hoo! Freedom!" Caleb said.

Caleb will be honored April 16 in Washington, D.C. by Operation Homefront.  He will receive $10,000 and a laptop.

9 comments

  • prob

    I am disappointed they could not find a young man of color to bestow this award upon. What a shame and a lost opportunity.

    • rjaffeux

      Wow you had to go there… really. Though if you don’t notice he is a mixed race child. BUT we don’t ALWAYS have to reward a child of another race. ANY child who does a good job needs to be rewarded..

    • Tammy

      Just had to go there didn’t you? Any opportunity to throw out some comment about race to stir the pot…huh? It’s people like you who keep fueling the fire.

    • John

      What is truly disappointing is that you cannot appreciate this young man’s accomplishment with denigrating it with race-baiting BS. Why didn’t you bother to look at all the Military Children of Year candidates? They are a mix of kids. Caleb just happens to be the overall “winner” this year. But hey, I’m sure you’d still be happier if they just gave it someone of color no matter how less deserving. Speaking as someone who knows Caleb personally, it’s a pity the first comment for this great piece on a model citizen, great son, awesome brother, exceptional role model, and Eagle Scout had to be your ignorant nonsense.

  • Justyna McBurney

    Way to go Caleb – so very grateful for your foundation in our Lord and the guidance and direction of your fabulous parents. Thanks to all of you for your service to our country, but most importantly for your service in the “army of the Lord.” May God grant you the desires of your heart as you continue to grow and go where He leads you. Ma “t”

  • Ronald J. Heit

    If only most of today’s young men were so virtuous it would be a far better world !
    He’s a shining example of living a Christian lifestyle.
    I wish him the best of luck in his new Army career.
    With his younger siblings the family may end up representing all 5 of America’s military branches as my Step Fathers siblings did in EW II !

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