Gladewater antique dealer Mary Whitlock can think of little else today. Except a plaque on her wall. A bronze start certificate awarded to her son.
"He always wanted to be the one to tell the other kids how they were line up to play a game, and who would be first and usually he was it" Mary says.
At 18, Charles Whitlock graduated from Gladewater High School, going straight into the Marines. Now 45, he's led his explosive ordinance disposal unit in Iraq, going on more than 220 missions including getting rid of 30 IED's. those missions, and his bravery to do them won him the Bronze Star.
"I wasn't really surprised but I was, but I'm very honored very proud of him, he eats sleeps dreams marine corps that's the way it was it came first" says his mother.
For Gladewater it's a community honor.
"Obviously the first word that comes to mind is a hero. How wonderful os it that he would be a recipient of this award" said Gladewater city manager James Stokes.
And a family tradition. Charle's brother Ronnie was a Marine in Operation Desert Storm, making this mother's pride run even deeper.
"I'm so proud of him so very proud of him and of all the military" Mary says.
Chief warrant officer Whitlock will retire in December, and his mother is overjoyed that he told her, he plans on coming back to East Texas.