Evansville, Ind., delivers mailman to Parris Island
By Sgt. Scott Whittington
| | February 11, 2006
EVANSVILLE, Ind. --
He already has an eagle on his uniform, but now he’s ready to put that one on hold for another – the eagle, globe and anchor. This 34-year-old, postal worker hung up his mailbag and headed for Parris Island Oct. 12 but not without a few bumps in the road.
Glennon Parks Jr., has been a postal worker for the last 15 years. He started at the U.S. Postal service after attending Lindenwood College on a football scholarship. His father was a mail carrier at the time.
“I had talked with a recruiter before college but I wanted to take the scholarship,” said Parks, a St. Louis native. “Now I’m ready for the Marines. It’s just something I’ve always wanted to do in the back of my mind, and it’s the Marines or nothing. There is no other branch of service.”
Besides his age, Parks had another challenge in front of him. Not only was he an older applicant, he was 225 pounds with 24 percent body fat at 73 inches tall. If he had tried to join at that weight, he would have needed a weight waiver. He didn’t want anything to be stacked against him so he did something about it.
“I started at a gym and got myself back in shape,” said Parks. “I just want to be a Marine; to have that honor, to be distinguished with a sense of pride.”
In four weeks, he shed 20 pounds and another eight weeks later he was down to 187 pounds and 12 percent body fat – a new man.
His first attempts didn’t go so well for this 1989 Fort Zumwalt North High School graduate. Being in the St. Louis area, he went through Western Recruiting Region back in July where his request was eventually turned down due to his age. But he didn’t give up. He crossed over the imaginary line that separates the two regions and went to Recruiting Sub-station Evansville, Ind.
“We received Parks’ name as a referral from WRR,” said Staff Sgt. Kevin Simerka, RSS Evansville staff noncommissioned officer-in-charge. “He wasn’t your average enlistee. He was by far the most mature applicant we’ve had.”
Once again the age waiver went to the top. Eastern Recruiting Region contacted WRR and inquired about Parks’ wavier. San Diego’s concern was with his age. Parks’ wavier was again sent down disapproved, however, Col. Brian Manthe, 4th Marine Corps District commanding officer, asked ERR to reconsider. Parris Island took a second look with recommendations from RS Louisville and 4th MCD. Parks finally caught a break and he was accepted.
“He was overwhelmed and very thankful for everyone that went to bat for him,” said Simerka.
Parks, a father to three children, said he’s ready for Parris Island – a challenge that he has wanted for the last 15 years. With his parents and colleagues behind him in support, he headed for the Island. His children, Amanda, 14; Lacy, 14; and Glen III, 10, await his return.
He’s already gone through a change to join and as all Marines do, he’ll go through another change at boot camp.
The change was completed January 6, and Pfc. Parks is currently attending the School of Infantry aboard Camp Geiger, N.C.