We continue our series on our 2015 Military Child of the Year recipients with getting to know Zachary Parsons, Military Child of the Year, National Guard.
A common theme among the stories of the military child experience is one of children stepping up in ways big and small when mom or dad (or both) answer the call to service. Zachary Parsons can definitely relate.
The Parsons have strong military ties. Besides his father, Zachary’s sister and brother also serve. When it came time for his father to deploy to Afghanistan, Zachary knew that he would be needed to help run the family farm, alongside his mother. But what he couldn’t know was that his father would be injured during that deployment, prolonging the family reunion and meaning that he would assume even more responsibility while worrying about his father and what the future would hold.
It has been a tough two years for Zachary. He shares, “When the main figure leaves your household there is a spiral of things to deal with. My dad was head of household, so when he left there were so many things left to do on the farm, as well as keep our life together. Dealing with that empty space is tough.”
Those responsibilities alone would be enough for many, but they have not stopped Zachary. Imbued with a strong sense of the call to service, and the cost exacted, Zachary gives back to his community in so many astonishing ways. He uses his personal experiences with deployments and the impact they have on military children to advocate as a member of Missouri National Guard Teen Advisory Council. As a child of farmers, he is active in 4-H at the state and national level, serving as a delegate to Congress from Missouri. He wants other military children to know that there is someone who understands exactly what they are going through, and that they, too, can have a voice. It is no surprise that Zachary was named Whiteman Air Force Base Youth of the Year and Missouri Military Youth of the Year.
An accomplished debater, Zachary has maintained a 3.85 GPA while also trying new things, such as joining his school’s tennis team. Though his dad is able to come home on weekends, the family, and Zachary in particular, look forward to the day when they can be reunited for good.
Zachary is the youngest son of Army Sgt. 1st Class Jason and Debbie Parsons. His father is currently at the Wounded Warrior Transition Unit at Fort Leonard Wood.
Catch up with our Military Child of the Year spotlight series:
“An unwavering role model in the face of adversity”-Military Child of the Year 2015, U.S.C.G., Caleb Parsons.
“Her humility, kindness, and candor inspire everyone she meets” –Military Child of the Year 2015, U.S.A.F., Sarah Hesterman.
“The focus and discipline to stay the course.”-Military Child of the Year 2015, U.S.N., Emily Kliewer.
“A Great Deal of Heart” -Military Child of the Year 2015, U.S.M.C., Christopher-Raul Rodriguez.
“Service changes lives” – Military Child of the Year 2015, U.S. Army, Cavan McIntyre-Brewer.
Learn more about Military Child of the Year, visit www.militarychildoftheyear.org. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for information on how you can join us for the livestream of the Military Child of the Year Award gala in D.C. on April 16, 2015.