On top of Sand Stone Peak

I grew up in East Texas where I worked construction, on a local farm and on a ranch. I was one of six children. My family was poor, but we managed to have an amazing childhood. I think we lived outside more than inside. Me and my family lived in a very rural part East Texas where we chopped wood, gathered wild blackberries, and explored the surrounding wilderness. My childhood is where I really began to love the great outdoors. I have been working in some fashion since I can remember. When I was very young I would go to my neighbor’s blueberry farm and pick blueberries for .25 cents a pound to sell at the local market. I also helped water, feed, and do weed control on the farm. I grew up operating heavy equipment for the farm I worked on as well as the construction company I later worked for. My high school years were mostly consumed by construction jobs to help support myself. I worked for both an electrician and a plumber where I learned many valuable life lessons as well as skills of the trades that are still with me today. I also worked at a local diesel mechanic shop where I became very skilled in automotive and diesel repair. I was lucky to have access to a large shop where I learned metal working, woodworking and to work on and fix my own vehicles.

My post high school life was one of travel. I stayed local for a brief period where I attempted to start my college career at a local community college. I was not as dedicated then as I am now. I would venture to the Colorado’s where I would do a couple multi night hiking trips in the mountains. This is another defining period where my love for the wilderness was further reinforced.

The minute I heard there was an opportunity for me to work in the United States Virgin Islands I immediately bought a one way plane ticket. There I worked as a repairman on the mega yachts that were mainly docked in the Yacht Haven Grande in Charlotte Amalie on St. Thomas. My focus was generator repair and other electrical troubleshooting jobs. I installed several small reverse osmosis machines, solar panels, inverters and maintained battery banks. Most of this work was through contract with no benefits or stable financial future. I suspect even the record of me working there would be hard to find.

Diving with Terry Anderson and Ryan

I took up snorkeling and scuba diving while I was there in the USVI. This is another moment I reflect on. I would swim through the reefs and beside sea turtles daily. Stingrays, sharks, and octopus sightings were a common occurrence. I witnessed the true beauty of what nature can produce.

I grew tired of living on the island and the unstable nature of my job and headed back to the mainland after approximately a year exploring and working on St Thomas. At this moment in my life I wanted ever more change, so I joined the United States Marine Corp. I was trained as an M1A1 tank crewman and it was truly the “best job I ever had”. Through the Marines my mental and physical discipline was tested and strengthened. I met lifelong friends and acquired many skills that I will use for the rest of my life.

I completed my contract and decided to leave the Marines to pursue another one of my bucket list items. Getting my degree.

And now this is where I am, studying Environmental Science at CSUCI. I hope to use the skills I learn and the degree I will get to secure a job where I can both help our world and enjoy it. I hope to eventually get a masters or PhD. But for now, I will focus on the tasks at hand.