OHHS 1974 Graduate Served in the 82nd Airborne Division

As Veteran’s Day approaches, we’d like to honor our GRPS Alumni veterans who served in the armed forces, sacrificing their time and risking lives to protect the freedoms we hold dear. We recently spoke with Reverend Charles Hudson III, B.B.S., M.Div, who is a graduate of Ottawa Hills High School 1974 about his life. He said that he’s “just a country boy trying to make it in the big city” and you have to start at the beginning.

Reverend Charles is the oldest of 8 children born to the late Rev. C.H. Hudson and Mary Elizabeth Hudson in 1956 Rayville, Louisiana in the Parish of Richland. His elementary education began at Alto Elementary/High School, and he matriculated there from the 1st through the 5th Grade. His family then relocated to Grand Rapids, Michigan in November of 1966.

He resumed his education at the age of 10 in The Grand Rapids Public Schools where he attended Sigsbee Elementary School (5-6th) and Harrison Park Middle School (7-8th). At GRPS, he was exposed to many mentors and teachers who encouraged him and made sure he did the right things. He played basketball at Ottawa Hills High School for four years under coach Bob Hendrickson. He discovered the love of sports and the passion to apply yourself and went on to graduate OHHS in 1974.

He then attended Macalester College from 1974-78 where he majored in Speech Communication and Political Science. He returned to Grand Rapids in 1978 where he worked in Retail Banking, Insurance, and Real Estate Management.

In 1984 he felt the need to explore the world and be of service to his country. In January of 1984, he made the decision to join The United States Army as a Personnel Management Specialist. After the completion of Basic Training at Fort Knox, Kentucky, Advanced Individual Training at Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana, and Airborne Training in Columbus, GA., he was assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division, 2nd Brigade, 4th Battalion, 325th Infantry Regiment, at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, under the Adjutant General Command. He completed (2) Tours of Duty in the Southern European Task Force in Vicenza, Italy and was Honorably Discharged in 1994.

Reverend Charles said although he wanted to travel and see the world, his greatest motivation for joining the service was his 2 ½ month old daughter at the time. He needed to succeed for her. “The military wasn’t forgiving of mistakes,” said Reverend Charles. “You had to pay attention to details, train to jump out of airplanes and run 3 to 4 miles in the morning. It was physically demanding, and you couldn’t fail.”

Upon his return to Grand Rapids, he worked in the manufacturing industry in production, logistics, and quality control. His years of service in the airborne division gave him the skills to complete a Certification in Human Resources at Davenport University. His employment included Cascade Engineering, Lacks Industries, and ADAC Plastics with certification and technical training in several areas of employee training and development, quality control, and organizational development.

Reverend Charles believes in giving back with his volunteering and connections at GRPS. He uses his outline of Seven Habits of Highly Effective Students as a way to mentor scholars to success. He knows that our time on earth is limited and chooses to spend his time helping others, speaking, and doing outreach ministry. He likes to quote a saying from Jim Elliot about prioritizing what is truly valuable in life, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep, to gain what he cannot lose.”

Reverend Charles Hudson III and his wife Carolyn, a retired Early Childhood Care Specialist, currently reside in the City of Kentwood, MI. They have (3) Adult Children, (10) Grandchildren, and (4) Great Grandchildren.

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