WICHITA FALLS, TX (KAUZ) - Newschannel 6 continues to shine a light on those who serve our country. Wednesday, we recognized a young man who is serving our country as a police officer in the United States Army. Many from the village that raised him said they knew Rico could accomplish anything.
"He stood out because he was very respectful. You don't find too many young men like Rico that respect their elders. He's one of a kind," Allen Smith, Rico's pastor said.
Rico graduated from Hirschi High School in 2014 and went to college in the fall. But his passion was always to serve our country. After a relative and close friend passed away just weeks from each other, Rico decided to follow his dream of joining the military.
"I was excited. At first, I was like no. But then (I decided) it's up to him so whatever he decided, I had his back," his mother Tamu Sumpter said.
Sonja Gandy met Rico when her office was moved to Hirschi High School. She said Rico was a breath of fresh air.
"Rico also knew what the obstacles of being in high school… and he avoided the very things that could have gotten him in trouble," she said.
Religious leaders in his church felt the same way.
"He was a respectable young man. I could tell that his mother did a wonderful job with him, and the most important thing she could have done for him was put him in Christ," Kenneth Colbert, reverend at Nehemiah Bible Base Church said.
Rico just arrived home from a year tour in Korea. While there were times that scared him, he did enjoy the Korean soldiers.
"They worked so hard to where it motivated me to work hard and think about why I'm working hard and what I'm doing it for," Rico said.
His plans are to make a career out of the military. His next stop is a post in Kansas. The people who have made the biggest impacts on his life could not be more happy about the decisions he has made.
"I'm proud to be an American. I am proud of him for choosing to serve our country," his grandfather, Charles Sumpter said.
If someone you know is deserving of this recognition let us know. Send us an email to News@KAUZ.com with your contact information and any photos you may have. We will get in touch with you for further opportunities.
Samantha Forester, Newschannel 6