Sometimes it pays to write a letter. At least it did for small town boy Rob Evans who decided to write a letter to President Ronald Reagan.
“I didn’t know where West Point was, didn’t know it was in New York. I didn’t know much back then, but I knew if I was going into the army, I was going to be an officer and a top officer.”
But that came later…much later.
Robert Clayton Evans, son of Virgil and Mary Evans, was born in January of 1969 at Fort Walters, located on the border of Parker and Palo Pinto counties at the intersection of 180 and 281. Virgil, of course, was from Comanche, and Mary was from Alvord, near Decatur, Texas.
Rob grew up in Mineral Wells and “played every sport they allowed in Mineral Wells. Sports was my biggest passion in school, but I always loved reading and had a small library of my own. School came easy for me, I suppose.”
Through it all, Rob always knew that he wanted to follow in his dad’s footsteps, and he always planned to enter the military….and he knew that he wanted to be a leader.
“My mom was a historian and a teacher, and she knew all about West Point. She told me that if I was going to be an officer, I needed to go to West Point. I began studying and the more I read about it, the more I wanted it. I knew I needed an appointment so I wrote to President Reagan. I told him about my dad and his service and then I explained to the President that I knew about his service as well.
“Of course, everyone tried to prepare me for disappointment since Mineral Wells had only had one other person attend West Point. Then…I received a letter from Ronald Reagan, telling me that he would be proud to sponsor me! I actually received an early admission because mine was a presidential appointment.”
So what was it like to go to West Point?
“I had never been outside of Texas for more than two weeks, and it was the coldest winter they had had in New York in years,” he explained with a grimace.
“It started snowing in September, and it snowed until April! If I had quit, it would have been because of the weather, not because of the schoolwork. I was a slow talking Texan, and they assumed intelligence was not part of the equation, but I hung in there!
“We started out with 1,400, and we graduated less than 1,000. The others quit, but I wouldn’t have come home for anything! I knew my parents would have still loved me, but I would never have let my dad think that I was less tough than he was. I wanted both him and my mom to be proud of me.”
Robert Clayton Evans graduated from West Point and went to Fort Bragg, where he began jumping out of planes. From there, he served on every continent except Antarctica, “and I don’t care about finishing the circle. I still don’t like cold weather!”
By his own admission, it was over the course of the next twenty-five years of his military service that Rob Evans feels he learned the leadership skills that led him to feel qualified to accept his current position as the city administrator of the city of Comanche, Texas.
“I learned so much about leadership on all levels from my years in the service. For twenty-five years, I led people in every imaginable situation.”
And as he began to chronicle his work experience, I realized that there was simply no way that I could capture it in a few sentences here today. Instead, I chose to ask Rob about his goals for Comanche.
“I want to see Comanche reach a point to where it is no longer stagnant. I’d like to see us reach that 5,000 population mark so that our borders can reach farther and encompass others. I want people to want to be a part of our town, proud to wear the hat that says Comanche, and proud to tell others that they live in this great little town called Comanche.
“To be honest, I believe that we have the potential to move forward and not fall backwards, and I believe that I can help us do just that. People who make no decisions have already failed. They are frozen, and they stay frozen. We are going to move forward. ‘Follow Me. is a famous line to a lot of people in the military. I am trying to be part of the solutions to our questions, and I think we will get to the next checkpoint in great shape!”