USA: Jacksonville Recognizes Sailor for Heroic Actions
A Sailor from Patrol Squadron (VP) 30 was recognized by the City of Jacksonville Nov. 30 for his heroic actions.
Naval Aircrewman (Mechanical) Airman Brett Parks was presented a proclamation from Victor Guillory, director of Military Affairs, Veterans and Disabled Services Department on behalf of Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown.
The proclamation designates Dec. 5 as “Brett Parks Day” to pay tribute to Parks who was shot while coming to the assistance of a robbery suspect in October.
Since then, Parks has been hospitalized at Shands Jacksonville Medical Center recovering from his life-threatening wounds which have resulted in the loss of a kidney and part of his right leg. He hopes to be transferred to the Tampa VA Hospital this week to continue his rehabilitation process and receive his prosthetic.
While telling his story, Parks said he does not consider himself a “hero.”
“I didn’t look at what I was doing as heroic – it’s just something that you do. I just heard a man screaming for help and I ran over there. The man attacking him ran so I chased after him. I stopped him but didn’t see a gun. A couple seconds later, he shot me and I fell,” said Parks, a native of Miami, who joined the Navy in 2008.
Emergency personnel quickly transported Parks to the hospital where he has since undergone numerous surgeries to save his life. The gunshot wound damaged a major artery incurring a great loss of blood. During his ordeal, Parks has required nearly 80 pints of blood. With his family, friends and co-workers rallying by his side, Parks is making strides towards his recovery.
“I’m really excited to be going to rehab in Tampa and get my prosthetic. The support I’ve received from everyone is really overwhelming and humbling,” he continued.
Parks said he is also thrilled that he and his wife, Susan are expecting their second child in early December. “We have a 1-year-old son, Jason and now we are having a little girl,” he said.
After receiving the proclamation which was read by Guillory in front of his family and shipmates, Parks stated.
“This is very humbling and overwhelming. All I did was try to help someone. Thank you so much. I just praise God for getting me through this. From what I hear 99.6 percent of those with my injury don’t make it and I did. I’ve had incredible nurses and doctors. They saved my life and I am so grateful I’m still here for my family,” he added. “I’d also like to thank my co-workers for being by my side. I really appreciate them helping us with whatever we’ve needed.”
A member of VP-30 for almost two years, he is known as a dedicated Sailor and fitness enthusiast who works as a personal trainer in his free time.
“I came in the Navy to be a rescue swimmer – I wanted to help people. Unfortunately, I broke my foot and couldn’t complete the course. Then I got married and my priorities changed. And with this happening, I’m not sure where our future lies. I am thinking about doing some motivational speaking,” said Parks.
The incident also highlighted the importance of blood donations within the community. VP-30 held a blood drive Nov. 21, collecting 78 pints of blood.
Naval Today Staff, December, 2012