GENESEE, ID — The saying goes not all heroes wear capes. Petty officer 3rd class Terence J. Parsons doesn't wear a superhero's costume, but what he does wear, is a U.S. Navy uniform. His service in his uniform has led to more lives saved than ever imaginable.
"Growing up in a small town, everything has always been about family, close community. It's never been about yourself," says Parsons.
He grew up in Genesee, and when he graduated high school, he knew his calling was to serve.
"When I joined, I wanted to do something bigger than myself and really give back. I honestly thought I was going to do my four years and get out."
That was six years ago. He's been all over the country since, in California for training, and then in Virginia.
"Right now, I'm getting ready for deployment. I'm a corpsman, so on the medical side. Medical readiness, bumps and bruises, scrapes, scratches. That's what I deal with."
On March 24, 2017, Parsons tended to more than just a scratch.
"I was actually coming back from teaching a course, and there was cars piled up on the freeway and I was like you know what I'm just going to run up and see what happened."
When he arrived, there was a car accident and a man's arm had been amputated from the impact of the crash.
"I pull up to the scene and there was a gentleman there who had a belt that he had wrapped around the guy's arm and I was like, I have something a little bit better. I had to get a tourniquet out of my med bag and put that on him, and then just secondary assessment."
With his help, Parsons likely saved the crash victim from bleeding out and dying. Just 35 days earlier on February 17, Parsons was at another similar situation.
"The other one was a car accident that happened right in front of me. Pulled them out and had to do a little support."
Parsons provided life-saving treatments in that crash as well and likely prevented another tragedy. He was off duty both times. Then in July, his phone rang.
"I got a call from the Master Chief of the Navy and that was very shell shocking, cause when you get a call from that high up, you usually did something wrong, and I was running my mind like, I know I haven't done anything wrong."
The call was to tell Parsons he had been nominated for the United Service Organization's 2017 Sailor of the Year Award for displaying unselfish devotion, great heroism, and putting himself in harm's way to assist members of the community. Before he could accept the award in October though, yet another incident occurred.
"We were on a ship and they were doing a training exercise, the marines were, and they call over the 1MC that goes over the ship 'mass casualty mass casualty all hands on board to assist.'"
What Parsons saw next was something he says he hopes to never see again.
"As I was running through the ship and I came up onto it and just looked and marines passed out all over the place. It looked like out of a movie to be honest with you."
Eighteen marines on the USS Oak Hill and USS Kearsarge were suffering from various injuries, including heat stroke, stress, exhaustion and hypoxia.
"Mostly it was getting them fresh air. Stripped them out of their clothes down to their underwear, put some space blankets on them, get fresh air, oxygen if they needed it, vital signs and temperatures."
Parsons helped save another 18 lives from sadly ending. He received the USO Sailor of the Year Award in October, but he says the award isn't just for him.
"It's not like individuality. So it's never really been like 'oh I deserve this award, or I got this award because of this.' It's a team effort. Hero's a very, very big word. I serve my country and I do it for my family and my community. Being a hero, there's so many more than me. There's so many more that don't get recognized, so this is quite humbling to be honest with you."
Parsons has also been awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, and numerous individual, campaign and unit awards. Right now he's at home before he's deployed. Parsons says his main goal on deployment is to teach hygiene and traumatic response to whatever countries he goes to.