NEWS | Feb. 16, 2021

88th Readiness Soldier: “I’m just adding to the legacy of those who came before me”

By Cheryl Phillips 88th Readiness Division

Using the example of his grandfather who served in World War II, an 88th Readiness Division Soldier carries on the tradition in the Army Reserve.

Staff Sgt. Averazse Parrish joined the Army Reserve to “serve my country and learn discipline. Really, to make a difference,” he said. He also has a cousin who is an Army Reserve captain.

He strives to make an impact through the work he does as a Religious Affairs Specialist, 56M. In that capacity, Parrish serves as the Training and Resource Management non-commissioned officer for the 88th RD Chaplain section. “I work with the Training and Resource Management Chaplain to provide support to the Unit Ministry Teams in the 88th RD’s 19-state region,” he said. “I also coordinate and plan battle focused training for of the UMTs in the region to help improve their overall readiness.”

The Shakopee, Minn., native is also trained as a Human Resources non-commissioned officer, 42A.

During the last year, Parrish thinks his involvement with the Army Reserve has helped him handle the challenges of the pandemic. The Army Reserve “has instilled in me the ability to handle outcomes in a professional way. I have learned so many skills in the Army Reserve that apply to all of life. These have helped me overcome so much in my personal life as well as in my professional life,” he said.

Despite COVID restrictions, Parrish has maintained his physical fitness. He is one of the few people in the 88th RD who is certified to train others and grade the Army Combat Fitness Test. His home gym is oriented around the ACFT, and includes a hex bar and chin up bar.

During African American Heritage Month in February, Parrish reflected on how he feels about the observance and being a Soldier in the Army Reserve: “I feel at home. There is a lot to say about being Black and serving. If you look at American history all the way back to 1776, there were African Americans serving in the Army. I’m just adding to the legacy of those who came before me.”

Parrish views himself as a model for other young African American people possibly considering service to their country. He does that through the Army values. “If you live by the Army values that are instilled in you at basic training and throughout your Army school, then you are a role model. I take pride in that because I want to show the next generation that the Army is a place where you can be success, have a family, grow and become better,” Parrish said.

Speaking of family, Parrish and his wife Ranee have four children. Those close to him are pleased that he wears the Army uniform. “My family is very supportive and proud of me serving. My father isn’t really one to share his feelings, but I believe he is super honored and proud that I serve,” he said.