Blog written by: Tejas Patel | Team RWB Eagle Leader Fellow
I carry light for everyone that has brought me to where I am; my ancestors, my teachers, my colleagues, my students, and my Team Red, White & Blue teammates. Without the collective efforts of each and every one of these people, I would not be where I am today.
I am Tejas Patel and I am a current Eagle Leader Fellow and member of the Team RWB Washington, D.C. Chapter. I am a veteran and a Marine.
My father emigrated to the United States to build a better life. I have been fortunate to have had the opportunity to grow up in the United States as a first generation American and observe what this country has done for my parents and extended family. My father always told me to serve, stressing “Serve your community, serve your friends, serve your country…and always remain humble”.
Those are words that I have taken to heart and lead my life by. I carry the light for him and my Mom.
My career in community service began with volunteering while in middle school. I took the opportunity to serve my country overseas by joining the U.S. Peace Corps and working as a Secondary Sciences Teacher in Botswana, Africa. I immersed myself in the culture and community just as I did Stateside. It provided me with a perspective of what my students and people of my village, Mmadinare, go through on a daily basis. My students taught me more than I could ever teach them. I took it upon myself to learn as much as I could about each of my students and the life that they led. I learned how some of them walked to school for over five kilometers with no shoes. School provided them with breakfast and lunch before they had to walk back home to prepare a meal for their families. Many of them have struggled in their short lifetime more than I will ever struggle. I carry the light for them.
After 27 months in Botswana, I joined a different Corps, the Marine Corps, and continued to serve my country in another capacity. This experience was invaluable as I was able to learn so much about others from different parts of our country and the experiences that lead them to be Marines. I carry the light for my fellow Devil Dogs.
Now, as an Eagle Leader Fellow, I hope to be able to continue to contribute to my extended family. It is about spending time in the community and building genuine connections with fellow Team RWB Eagles. I carry the light for each one of my fellow Eagles.