WACO, Texas (KWTX) Captain Stephen Carl spent nine months in Afghanistan flying a medevac helicopter on rescue missions, saving lives.
“Anytime soldiers out there got injured, they called us and we responded,” Carl said. “We flew our helicopters out there, landed, picked them up and took them to the hospital."
Today, he’s on a different kind of rescue mission, but the comparisons are unavoidable.
“It’s not a perfect analogy, but there are definitely a lot of parallels to the solider in the battlefield who has been injured and the child in our community that has been through neglect,” the Captain said.
He and his wife, Lindsey, have adopted three biological sisters from the foster care system and it’s something they feel they were called to do.
“As a foster parent you take risks, but it’s worth it because it’s for the grace of God that I wasn't abused or neglected as a child,” Carl said. “That (a foster child) could have been me.”
Just like flying that medevac helicopter to rescue soldiers, the mission of adopting foster children for Carl was second nature.
The Houston native explained that while the hurdles of adopting children through foster care were somewhat perplexing, it’s one of the things that led him to enroll in law school at Baylor.
While at Baylor Law, Carl’s mission received somewhat of a spiritual assist when he was awarded the Pat Tillman Scholarship.
2,000 veterans apply and only 60 are chosen each year.
“It's a network of veterans who are committed to giving back using the scholarship to further our education for the purpose of giving back to the community,” Carl described.
Pat Tillman had a lucrative career in the NFL before he was moved to enlist after September 11th, but he paid the ultimate sacrifice when he died in combat 14 years ago.
Tillman’s legacy lives on in Stephen, who was also motived to join the service after September 11th with the scholarship.
Stephen says he isn’t sure if he and his wife Lindsey are going to adopt again but it’s not out of the question.
And he urges others to join him on his rescue mission in the foster care system.
“Not everyone can take on a foster kid, not everyone can become a parent, but we can all do something to help this problem because it’s a community problem,” Carl said. “These kids are the future of our community."
It seems like his work in the foster care community is another successful mission for Captain Carl.
(May is Foster Care Awareness month.
If you want to get involved in fostering or adopting call your local family and protective services office. You can contact the state office at 512-438-4800)