WICHITA FALLS, TX (KAUZ) - Our Hero of Texoma this week has been serving the country in the United States Air Force since he first joined in 1949.
"That's the greatest thing for me is to be able to truly contribute to this great nation," said James Esther, Jr.
His father served in World War I, something that stuck with him.
"I got to thinking about the things he said he enjoyed outside the United States. Now I'm ready to go to college and everything else, but instead, I walked by a recruiting office," said Esther, Jr.
That recruiting office stop sent Esther, Jr. to Japan for two tours after basic training. He also served at various bases across the state of Texas including a base in Amarillo.
Esther told me on the way to Amarillo. He passed through Wichita Falls.
"I said I hope I never get stationed at something like this," said Esther, Jr. as he laughs.
But after only a few months in Amarillo, that base closed.
"As fate would have it, here we come. They moved us right into Sheppard Air Force Base. I've been there ever since," said Esther, Jr.
In 1966, he retired from the US Air Force as a Master Sergeant, finished his business degree at Midwestern state, and served three terms as City Councilor in Wichita Falls.
The city he initially didn't want to be stationed in. Esther, Jr. said the military opened his eyes to many different groups of people.
"Now you're in a box. For example, I was in the African American box. In the military, you meet all these wonderful people that are doing the same thing like you. That's the thing I loved about the whole thing. Being able to be a part of the whole rather than just one little box," said Esther, Jr.
We are always looking for nominations for our Heroes of Texoma. Please nominate a person or a program you think deserves this recognition by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.