Know this, before CW4 Darrin Gibson sets foot as a Bassmaster Marshal in an Elite anglers’ boat, he has already served his country in the Marine Corps and the Army by being in Desert Storm, Iraq, Panama, Kosovo, Haiti and several others he didn’t want to mention.
Been protecting us most of his life…25 years and counting.
When he has the chance, he likes to hunt and fish, “…and spend as much time with Hope as possible.”
I asked him what’s on his bucket list and he didn’t think a minute before saying, “…pretty much doing it.”
Me: “Tell me about yourself.”
CW4 Gibson: “Not much to say, I’m patriotic.”
I got that, and I’m thankful for that as well.
Let me set the scene: It is after the registration meeting, it is only me and the PICK 3 + 1 guys left in the huge hall. We are sitting at a round table…Derrick Weston is next to me on my right…across from me is CW4 Gibson…next to him is a 25-year-old cement worker…next to him, on my left is a 23-year-old University of Alabama MIS major.
My next question: “Why are you patriotic, why have you spent most of your life protecting us here at the table?”
CW4 Gibson looked at me, glanced quickly at the others around the table, looked down at his hands for a second, and then looked up and straight into my eyes. He never blinked, and this is the note I wrote to myself as he looked at me, “the eagle speaks.”
“Sir, I do it to help people, help keep people safe here in America, but also as important, to help people in other countries AT LEAST have a chance to have the kind of freedom we have in America…they can choose it or not…but at least they need to get the chance to choose.”
I never asked him another question.
All I did was reach across the table, and shake his hand.
“…oh tell me, who are you…”
He is the same age as my shoes. 23.
“So what do you want to do when you get out of college?”
“Get a job and pay off my student loans.”
Seems Nick has a dog in the fight, his parents have paid some of the college bill, he’s borrowed the rest. “I’m lucky, MIS grads can get jobs, most others are not so lucky.”
Honestly, I don’t know what more to ask…he’s 23…I’ve had 23 year olds live in my house….my 23 year olds…I’ve heard their answers…so as I’m trying to save this PICK 3 thing, across the table CW4 Gibson says that he has to leave, we say goodbye, and he takes off.
Me, I go back to mainly looking at this kid hoping I get a brain bolt from the questions gods when Nick looks at me and says, “I really appreciate the soldiers (he nods in CW4 Gibson’s direction) because of them our rights are set in stone, because of people like him I’m free to become whatever I want to be and that society will pretty much be the same, the same bedrock, allof my life, that’s pretty cool.”