Weatherford College held a ceremony Thursday morning honoring veterans and Gold Star Families.
The event featured a speech by U.S. Marine Corp Cpl. Frank Divins; music by the WC Jazz Band, Sonny and Jolie Burgess, Doug Jefferson and Hunter Burt on bagpipes; the raising of military flags and the American flag; and the retiring of the American flag that has flown over the campus for the past year.
Divins joined the Marines when he was 17 after growing up with hardships and family members who struggled with addictions and committing crimes.
“I told myself I would never be that person, I would never follow into those footsteps and I joined the Marine Corps at age 17. Thankfully at that time my brother was my legal guardian and he signed my papers,” Divins said. “The biggest point is that we’re not bound to our past, we’re not bound to life circumstances, we have a choice as individuals to take the right path and do the right thing.”
Divins is a 2017 graduate of Weatherford College’s registered nursing program and is attending Texas Tech University to finish his bachelor of science degree in nursing. He plans to be a nurse practitioner.
“I’m actually the first to attend college of my entire family and one of the few that’s even graduated high school,” Divins said. “I say all these things to convey that you’re not alone, I know this isn’t just my story, this is many stories out here. We just have to better ourselves, better our futures, better our families. The biggest thing is that I want to encourage you to make those choices. We learn from our past and we learn from others. Don’t be afraid to ask for help because you’re not alone.”
John Park and his canine soldier Max also made an appearance at the ceremony.
“Max helped save over 4,000 lives in Afghanistan,” WC Director of Admissions and veteran Ralph Willingham said. “We are very very proud to have them with us.”
Parker County Gold Star Families were honored with a remembrance of those who paid the ultimate price for their country.
“We gather to honor all of our veterans who protected and preserved our national freedom. We gather to honor those on active duty around the world who are currently protecting our great nation and we gather to honor and remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice and gave their lives in defense of God and country,” WC President Dr. Todd Farmer said. “Freedom is not free.”