Warrior of the Week: Airman 1st Class Ryan Sparks

Airman 1st Class Ryan Sparks, 319th Air Base Wing Public Affairs photojournalist, practices singing the national anthem in the PA studio booth on Grand Forks Air Force Base, N.D. on July 1, 2015. Sparks was named warrior of the week for the first week of July. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Senior Airman Zachiah Roberson/released)

Airman 1st Class Ryan Sparks, 319th Air Base Wing Public Affairs photojournalist, practices singing the national anthem in the PA studio booth on Grand Forks Air Force Base, N.D. on July 1, 2015. Sparks was named warrior of the week for the first week of July. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Senior Airman Zachiah Roberson/released)

GRAND FORKS AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. --

Name: Ryan Sparks

Unit: 319th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

Duty title: Photojournalist Apprentice

Time in service: 11 months

Time on station: 3 months

Hometown: Lebanon, Ohio

Why is serving in the Air Force important to you?
Serving in the Air Force is important to me because it gives me a sense of purpose. When I was a civilian I dreaded going to work, but now I enjoy it. I feel like the work I do on a regular basis holds great value and it makes me proud that I can be a part of the Air Force mission.

What moment or accomplishment as a Warrior of the North are you most proud of and why?
The moment I am most proud of as a Warrior of the North is singing the National Anthem at [outgoing wing Commander Col. Paul Bauman's] change of command. In the short time I have been here, Colonel Bauman has influenced me a lot. I hope to be an officer sometime soon and the way he carries himself is how I would like to be.

What is your favorite part of your job?
My favorite part of my job is the variety. One day I can be underwater taking pictures of someone as they swim over. The next day I could be following competitors as they compete in a shooting competition. My job is the best job in the Air Force because I get to tell the story of other jobs in the Air Force.

Who or what inspires you and why?
My grandpa, Charles Edwards, inspires me. He was never in the military, but he exemplifies the core values of integrity first, service before self and excellence in all we do better than anyone I know. He is a hard working family man that always has a smile on his face. He is the greatest man I know and I hope I can be even half the man he is someday.

What's the first thing that made you think Grand Forks Air Force Base was a cool place other than the temperature or weather?
I think the small town family environment makes Grand Forks Air Force Base a cool place. I come from a small town where everyone knows everyone. It's like that here. I feel like I could ask just about anyone for help if I needed any.

Do you have any military service family members or anyone close to you that has served? If so when and where did they serve?
My dad, Douglas Sparks, served in the Air Force from February 1976 to February 1980. He was a dental technician at Chanute Air Force Base, Ill. I also have two uncles who were in the Army and went to Vietnam during the Vietnam War also.