Growing up, some people just know that they will one day join a branch of the United States military.
They are inspired to join the military right when they finish school, even if working in the military — regardless of the branch, place they are stationed, enlistment time or rank — can be a dangerous job.
Some people rise above the risk and still happily served their country.
Ethan Parker is one such person.
Parker, a 2009 graduate of John F. Hodge High School in St. James, enlisted in the Missouri Army National Guard.
He said working with the National Guard is not a full-time position, but he still trains and is always ready to work when needed.
He said he had multiple reasons for wanting to join the Army National Guard, but they all revolved around his family and his future.
He said he wants the National Guard to be something he keeps with his entire working life and will soon re-enlist.
Here is some more information about Parker:
Q: What was your main inspiration for wanting to join the Missouri Army National Guard?
A: The main thing that made me want to join the Guard was college. They pay for all of your tuition, and actually pay you to go. I’m studying criminal justice at Columbia College in Rolla. Another reason I joined the Guard is because I come from a military background. My father was in the Army. My brother, John Parker, is currently enlisted. He is a 1st Sergeant.
Q: What are your main responsibilities in your current position?
A: Our unit is a search and excavation unit. We primarily deal with natural disasters.
Q: How is the National Guard different than active military?
A: The Guard is much different than active military, given the fact that we are on a drilling status and report only one weekend out of the month and two weeks in the summer.
Q: What advice would you give to someone interested in joining the National Guard?
A: My advice to anyone joining would be to do it to benefit yourself while you're in. You have so many opportunities pretty much handed to you; you just have to take them.
Q: What has been your favorite memory so far while serving in the National Guard?
A: My favorite memory in the military so far would have to be boot camp. That is the first real taste you get of military life. That is where it all really begins.
Q: What would you say is the most challenging aspect of serving in the National Guard?
Page 2 of 2 - A: The most challenging part of my job would probably have to be staying trained. While being only in a drilling status, it is hard to stay motivated in your duties, and extremely easy to get sidetracked with the civilian lifestyle.