United States Army veteran Jake Hicks served his country for 22 years, working his way from an E-1 private up to a Chief Warrant Officer.
“I grew up around other veterans, and I probably watched too many Rambo movies growing up as a kid,” Hicks, who grew up in California, said with a grin. “I felt like it was a patriotic calling. I also started college, but I felt like a drifter, and the military really helped me out with structure. It was a good choice for me.”
Hicks said both of his grandfathers served in World War II, with one also serving in the Korean War, while several of his uncles served in the Vietnam War. Between 1992 and 2015 during his active duty, Hicks was deployed multiple times, spending time in Afghanistan, Iraq, Yugoslavia and Southeast Asia.
“Every place I went, I always found something very unique, so it’s really hard to have a favorite,” said Hicks, who now calls Humble, Texas home. “I just loved working with the people and learning the cultures of each place that I went to and building relationships.”
Throughout his time of service, Hicks said he continually came away with one main realization.
“I learned that the greatest joy that you can find in life is to serve somebody else and set them up for success,” Hicks said. “That was probably the greatest joy I had in the military, was helping other people.”
Hicks has not left that feeling behind, as he now serves as a chaplain at the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, while also working as a mental health therapist, focusing on justice-involved veterans.
“I don’t think there is a greater gift than helping somebody in their path and their journey,” Hicks said. “I was given so much in the military, this is a way for me to give back to the community.”
When it comes to soccer, Hicks said he was drawn into the sport by his 13-year-old son Howard, who is a massive Houston Dynamo fan, noting that their favorite player is captain Héctor Herrera.
“The first game we went to, just listening to the band constantly going and the drums were nonstop, he was all-in from the very first game with that excitement,” said Hicks, who moved to Houston in 2007. “Soccer is great because people invest so much into their local teams. The way it brings people together is special, and the whole family comes out. It becomes a way of life, and I love that part of the culture around soccer.”
Hicks will be taking in Saturday’s action with his own family – wife, Reba, son, Howard, and daughter, Katy.
“The most important things to me in life right now are God, family and country,” Hicks said with a smile. “My family is very important now that I have a chance to focus on them, which I didn’t have a chance to do when I was deployed.”
The Houston Dynamo are proud to honor U.S. Army veteran Jake Hicks as the Hero of the Match during Saturday’s matchup versus St. Louis CITY SC at Shell Energy Stadium.