BEAVERTON – Guernsey Road, south of Beaverton off of M-18, is growing into a strong military family neighborhood. The families living nearby one another on Guernsey Road all have family currently serving in the military as well as some who have also served in the past. Together, parents of all these families are able to lean on one another for support during emotional times.
The Gordon family on Guernsey Road has four generations of military involvement which has extended to today. Rick Gordon first served in the U.S. Army after being drafted for the Vietnam War in 1970. He later went on to serve with the U.S. Navy and National Guard before his retirement. Rick’s father was drafted during World War II and served with the 25th Infantry of the U.S. Army, so he was no stranger to the military when he was drafted decades later. While his father only served during the war and did not make the military his career, Rick did. He was glad he made a career out of the military majorly due to the benefits as well as an early retirement. This was the same thing he told his two sons after they had graduated high school and sought direction.
“I told them that if they go into the military, then they could retire by age 38, and that is not old,” Rick said.
Rick told his sons that the military was much broader than just the infantry and that people were finding more supportive careers. Currently, Rick’s oldest son, Richard, works as a Nuclear Weapons Specialist in the U.S. Air Force. Richard has won Airman of the Quarter and was declared the last man standing during a competitive war game that took place at a military base in Oklahoma. According to Rick, he obliged his sons to lean toward the Air Force as the safer option.
Raziel Gordon is Rick’s second son, and he has been awarded Airman of the Quarter twice, and, thanks to his years of choir at Beaverton High School, sings the National Anthem at various Air Force events.
Both of Rick’s sons were promoted to the rank of Staff Sargent on the same day in September, 2020. Raziel, age 23, is stationed at the Lackland Air Force Base in Texas and Richard, age 24, is stationed at an Air Force Base in Minot, North Dakota. They both plan on making a career in the military.
Century Shea, daughter of Kim and Mike Shea was raised in her parents’ home on Guernsey Road. Century joined the U.S. Army after discovering that her interest was in the military because she wanted to do “something more.” This was a bit intimidating at first for her parents who had little military exposure. Once her parents understood that she had found her path with the army, they knew this was where she would “truly become all she was created to be.”
Now, Kim and Rick both believe the military is arguably the best place for their children to be.
“They are taking extreme precautions with the virus and making sure that everyone is safe,” Kim said.
Century graduated as U.S. Army Private First Class from Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri in July and is now working as part of the Military Police at Fort Riley in Kansas. In August she was given a special assignment as Digital Training Management System Operator.
During her schooling at Mid Michigan College, she gained an interest in mortuary science and still hopes to pursue that career path in the military.
“There are more opportunities in the military today,” Century’s mom, Kim Shea said. “There has been a positive shift from the days when it was considered more of a Plan B. These kids are proof that it was their Plan A all along.”
According to Rick, he remembers that people used to view individuals who joined the military as perhaps less capable academically. His sons are among those who represent superior academic capabilities. With the way the military has progressed with its housing, career paths, training and opportunities, it has changed the overall appeal.
“Being able to retire with the military’s health benefits is worth its weight in gold,” Rick said.
Sarah and Rory Tripp on Guernsey Road recently saw their son, Kade off to basic training for the U.S. Navy. Kade Tripp is a 2020 Beaverton High School Graduate and played for the Beaverton High School Football Team.
“Kade knew from a very young age, six, that he was going to do something special in his life,” Kade’s dad, Rory said. “He never wavered from that idea and always said ‘when I grow up, I am going to be in the Army like you dad.’ Well we definitely supported his dream his entire life, but also knew things could change as he got older. The thing is that it didn’t, except that he chose the U.S. Navy to pursue his career. We couldn’t be more proud of our boy. He was appointed Athletic Petty Officer (APO) and is slated to graduate October 22, 2020. BZ Kade Tripp and hooyah Navy!”
According to Sarah, Kade’s mom, they have a lot of family in the military, and that was always a big influence for Kade. She believes that Rory, Kade’s dad, helped make his transition into the military easy with the way he raised him. Rory would share stories of his time at boot camp, and Kade would come to know what to expect and they would watch military videos together right up until the day Kade left. Over the years, the military became something that Kade and his father truly bonded over.
“I feel like Kade was made for the military,” Sarah said. “He was a very ‘by the book’ kind of kid, he always followed the rules, all black and white with very little gray area.”
According to Rick, Beaverton is beginning to gain a reputation with the military.
“The Air Force thinks that everyone that comes out of Beaverton runs like deer,” Rick laughed. “Richy actually lapped his whole unit while they were running, and I went down to Raz’s boot camp and there was this guy who was really well built and he said ‘look at me, and look at him (Raziel), I should be able to catch him, and I can’t catch him!’”
Kim mentioned that Century earned her reputation as the athlete of their family, and that during her time at basic training, she was keeping up with the men in her unit.
Rick’s son, Richard was on the Beaverton High School Baseball, Track and Cross Country team and Raziel was a part of the Beaverton High School Football, Track and Cross Country team. Both of his sons are also Eagle Scouts. Rick and Kim both recall other athletic Beaverton graduates who have joined the military over the years.
“We have quite the military community here in Beaverton,” Kim said. “And that’s a good thing, because things like this bring people together, which makes us all stronger as a result. I think military families are drawn to one another because no one else really understands the intense level of both worry and pride that comes along with the incredible privilege of telling others that your child is serving their country.”