|Who is Rabbi Tommy L. Parker?
Rabbi Tommy L. Parker is the Great Great Grandson of Nocona, a chief of the Comanche Indians. Quanah Parker (Jonas Parker) was the son of Chief Peta Nocona and an Anglo woman, Cynthia Ann Parker, a settler's daughter from Texas. Quanah was the last chief of the Comanche Indians. Quanah Parker is the Great Grandfather of Rabbi Tommy Parker.
Rabbi Tommy L. Parker was born in Bryan, Texas on January 9, 1945, 100 years after his Great Grandfather Quanah Parker was born. His parents are Billie Parker, his father and Pauline Jenkins, his mother. Because they were not married, Tommy spent the first years of his life being raised by his maternal Grandmother Elizabeth Momon Jenkins. She was also the mid-wife who delivered him into the world.
Times were very difficult for a young woman with a child and no husband. And work was hard to find in Bryan, Texas. Without having any special skills, Pauline traveled to west Texas in search of a job. She found one as a migrant worker picking cotton. The work was hard and back breaking. And the wages were low. But she still sent money back home to support Tommy while his grandmother cared for him. After living several years with his grandmother, she passed away. Then Tommy was brought to Lubbock, Texas to live with his mother.
Tommy started school later then most children because of the way his mother worked. He started school in the second grade at 8 years old. But because he was so bright he made up for lost time quickly.
As time went on he became the oldest of nine children. The needs at home continued to grow greater and more demanding. Tommy's part time jobs did not pay enough to make a real difference. And he felt the pressure to do more. He saw only one option. Tommy quit high school and joined the Army. He knew there would be one less mouth to feed and he could earn more money to help the family by being in the military. Tommy joined the Army during the height of the Vietnam War. However, instead of Vietnam, Tommy was sent to Germany. He finished his high school education at the military academy in Hanau, Germany.
Tommy's Army tour of duty ended at the Carlisle Barracks in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. While he was stationed in Carlisle he got married. And once his military obligations were completed, Tommy enrolled in the Thompson Institute in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and the Harrisburg Community College. Despite all the obstacles that he encountered in pursuing an education he never gave up his goal to learn more.
Now with his own family to support he took a job selling life insurance for Washington National Insurance Company while attending college. He was so successful that he broke a 55 year old sales record. Later he went to work with O.I.C Inc. as a job developer. He helped develop jobs for low income and unemployed people.
Upon hearing of his mother's illness Tommy moved back to Lubbock, Texas to take care of her. Without a job or a prospect of one but with confidence in GOD and himself, Tommy searched all over his home town for the right sales position. He landed an interview with Xerox Corporation. Xerox's local management saw and acknowledged his talent. They hired him. He was not as polished as his peers. They all had college degrees. Tommy had talent and desire. He did not disappoint the man that hired him. He consistently met and exceeded his sales goals. During his career with Xerox he qualified for "The President's Club" in recognition of the high sales marks he attained while selling Xerox copiers.
Tommy's mother, Pauline Jenkins, died December 27, 1981. Without any further reason to stay in Lubbock, Tommy allowed his Xerox career to move forward. He transferred to Amarillo, Texas; then to Fort Worth, Texas and finally he was promoted to a marketing specialist position in Jacksonville, Florida.
Who is Rabbi Tommy L. Parker? Rabbi Tommy L. Parker is a man that has never let his circumstances define who he is. People often refer to their beginnings as being "very humble," for Tommy Parker those words are more then a mere cliche. From the very beginning of his life, he has had nearly every obstacle possible placed squarely in his path. But those obstacles have never stopped him. He always sees greater possibilities not just for himself but for others as well. Rabbi Parker's incredible faith in GOD and courage was, at times, the only thing that kept him going. A man once commented "I don't see the sawdust on the floor but I admire what I see." That was said in 1989. Since then Rabbi Parker has had to overcome even greater odds. Much of his understanding and wisdom comes from GOD and walking in the shoes of other people like himself that also have challenges to face and obstacles to overcome.
Rabbi Tommy L. Parker's greatest passion in life is to serve GOD and GOD's people. He has never given thought to his own comforts but to those that GOD has put in his life to help and serve.
Right now Rabbi Parker sees record rates of violence among our young people in our communities but no lasting solution. Please help us "Stop the violence among our Children".
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The African American Unified Umbrella Corp.
11442 Woodmeadows Pkwy #180
Dallas, Texas 75228
Minister Lonnie Gaffney
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Reference Isaiah 59