By Johnathan Winston, 1LT, Texas State Guard
BIG SPRING, Texas - If you ask the typical soldier to explain what the Texas State Guard means to them, you might hear them talk about duty, honor, and the opportunity to serve their fellow Texans. If you ask Pfc. Robert Parks and Pvt. Abigail Parks, of Big Spring, Texas those questions you are likely to hear a similar story, or you may learn about a romance born out of service that led these two members of the Texas State Guard 3rd Brigade to become more than fellow service members. They also became husband and wife.
Robert was raised in the East Texas town of Livingston and joined the Texas State Guard in 2017.
“I decided to enlist to help Texans in need, to make a difference in peoples’ lives, and to see where it took me,” Robert said.
For Abigail, of Chihuahua, Mexico, her State Guard story began in 2018 after she completed the civilian education needed to enlist.
Neither knew it at the time but her enlistment would lead both Guardsmen on a course to the alter. Robert remembers their first meeting which took place after Abigail’s swearing-in ceremony.
“She was asked to stand and introduce herself to the squad, and to tell us about herself and what she wanted to do in the Guard. I listened and could relate to everything she was saying as far as service, family, and children,” said Robert. “All of our kids are the same age, she has a son and two daughters, and I have a son and two daughters.”
From there, destiny took over as Robert gave Abigail some uniform insignia items, a custom between longer serving soldiers and newly sworn-in troops. He also shared one more item that turned out to be a symbol of their future lives together. Months earlier Robert shared how he had acquired two pocket bibles with camouflage covers months earlier.
“I kept one Bible in the left pocket of my blouse, and the extra one in my ruck. I have no idea why I grabbed the other one, but I did,” said Robert.
On the day Robert and Abigail met, he gave her his extra Bible. Their relationship blossomed from there, and the pair eventually married in 2019. All of these years later, they both carry those same military Bibles in their left blouse pockets when in uniform.
“We owe our lives together to the Texas State Guard,” Robert said when asked about how serving continues to impact lives for himself and Abigail. “The Texas State Guard enabled us to do this. We love serving in the Guard because this is what brought us together.”
Both Guardsmen say their relationship has grown right alongside their service to Texas. The Parks emphasize a love of physical challenges and helping others whenever possible, and they look forward to developing as leaders together.