WESLACO (KVEO) – Nathan Parker loves to swim.
“I first saw him in seventh grade,” Weslaco Swim Coach Gabriela Najera said. “He said he liked basketball, but I told him he could be good at something, or he could be great.”
Parker ditched basketball shorts for swim trunks, and, not to Coach Najera’s surprise, he excelled.
“I see Nathan as a quiet leader,” Najera explained. “He’s not going to be loud and boisterous and say, ‘all eyes on me.'”
Despite holding a school record with his relay team, Parker earned the right to be named team captain of the Weslaco High Swim Team because of his lead-by-example approach.
“The fact that they see that in me and what me to be their captain,” Parker reflected. “It just means the world to me.”
This approach to leadership isn’t anything new for Parker. His Father, Steven Parker, has noticed these qualities outside of the pool for quite some time now.
“He prefers to work behind the scenes,” Mr. Parker said. “There’s a strength about him that I really admire.”
Mr. Parkers is referring to both mental and physical strength.
Outside of the pool, Parker volunteers with his church, providing relief to homes affected by flood damage across the valley.
“[Nathan] is such a big part of our mission teams at church,” Mr, Parker said. “We’ve been able to provide millions of dollars of volunteer labor in the community.”
It’s a daunting task when coupled with school work, swim practice and other extracurriculars, but young Parker is always willing to serve.
“We’ve been able to mud [houses] out and clean out all of the junk,” Parker said. “You just can’t live like that.”
Despite countless hours of physical labor, Parker is always willing and able to provide a service to those who need it, a task admired by those around him.
“He just loves to see other people succeed,” Mr. Parker said. “I think it will serve him well in life, and I’m just proud to be his dad.”
This service goes beyond athletics, proving that Nathan Parker is so much more than an athlete.