TOPEKA (KSNT) – Serving in Twentynine Palms, Calif., Frank Figueroa Jr., otherwise known as Preacher, began his Marine Corps service as an Artillerymen until a vital opening sent him on a different track.

For Figueroa, service was an avenue to redirect his life towards a more positive path.

“Military was basically a do or die kind of a thing,” Figueroa said. “As a teenager I was very rebellious, kicked out of just about every junior high and high school in Topeka.” 

Needing a way to hone his focus, Figueroa signed up for the Marine Corps delayed entry, where he would serve as a crew member on an M109 155 MM Howitzer.

Preacher wouldn’t be in that position for long though.

“About a year into my Marine Corps service, my unit discovered they had let the Supply Sgt. get out on his EAS, his end of service, without training anyone, and was looking for volunteers,” Figueroa said.

That role seemed like a good fit for Frank, proudly taking on Warehouse Chief responsibilities. Shortly after accepting, he was put to the ultimate test.  

“About a month after I took over the warehouse with no supply training, no idea how anything worked other than doing my own research, microfiche and things like that, they informed us we were having this phaseable inspection for readiness,” Figueroa said. “Started doing inventory and found out we were missing 60 flight jackets.”

Seeing this as an opportunity to prove himself, Preacher got to work.

“I creatively found 60 flight jackets,” he said. “Brand new, still wrapped, got them marked, got them created. We passed the inspection with flying colors. Because of that, I was actually given from the commander of the unit a Meritorious Mast Award for outstanding service for getting through that inspection.”         

That accomplishment really highlighted the skillset Figueroa was able to showcase thanks to the Marine mindset.

“Basic training in the Marine Corps tears you down,” Figueroa said, “shows you your weaknesses, how to overcome them and how to keep going no matter what. They show you that you just don’t quit, so If you’re given a mission, if you don’t know the way everybody else is doing it find the way that you can do it. It may not be the same but as long as the mission’s accomplished that’s what counts. That’s what I did, I just jumped in feet first and ran with it, and it worked out.”  

After ending his time with the Marine Corps, Frank went into public, private, and investigative law enforcement for 12 years.

These days, Frank owns his own town car service, Preacher’s Ride, in his hometown Topeka.