The Cleveland native was a standout in the 1994-95 Cleveland High School championship football team.
“I was very fortunate to have stability in my life,” Parker said.
His immediate family was a cornerstone in his life.
Parker also attributed the work of the Boys Club of Cleveland, the Cleveland Community Center and the Northeast Recreation Center for helping him stay out of trouble and remain focused on life and success.
100 Black Men of Bradley County Inc. was also one of his greatest influences.
“I was in the original group of mentees, and have now become a mentor and even been the chairman of the mentor group for 100 Black Men,” Parker said.
Parker said as his life began to evolve, he has been busy and continues to work with the 100 Black Men organization, speaking or other engagements.
“Three days after I graduated from CHS, I went into the Marine Corps,” Parker said.
Nearly 10 years later, he would leave the Marines to spend time with his family and work to save his marriage.
Three boys were a challenge for the young father. His marriage failed and he gained the task of raising his children. One of his boys is now an outstanding athlete at his father’s alma mater.
“They all have their own personalities,” Parker said.
After he left the Marines, Parker began to focus on raising the boys.
“I worked a few jobs, but really didn’t know what I wanted to do.
Bowater was one of his employers.
During a layoff, Parker began to think about his future.
Bowater had called Parker back to work, but other plans had been made.
“My oldest son asked me if I was going back,” Parker stated.
Parker had been working at “The Rush” as an instructor and personal trainer.
Earlier in his military career, Parker was awarded for his motivational skills.
“I helped our staff … the office staff, to reach a higher physical fitness goal,” Parker said.
“It never occurred to me what I would be doing in the future,” he added regarding his son’s question if he would return to Bowater.
His career as a certified personal trainer is directly relative to his military experience.
It was a life-changing medical event that led him to begin improving himself, and a wake-up call about his eating habits that precipitated his next move in life.
While at The Rush, he said he helped hundreds of people attain their physical fitness goal through planning and helping them correct their diets.
Through a simple Facebook post, he began a venture on his own and Tiger Fitness was born.
“I just requested anyone who wanted to join in a good physical fitness workout to meet at Cleveland High School’s track. About 10 people showed up,” Parker said.
The number keeps growing and now Parker holds Tiger Fitness at Northeast Recreation Center several times each week, including an extended session on Saturday mornings.
“I love helping people change their lives through our ‘Boot-Camp’ style of working out,” Parker said.
Parker continues to provide one-on-one personal training as well as the boot camps, which now draw approximately 25 people or more per session.
“I was a little apprehensive about moving to Northeast, but people followed,” he said. “Actually, we gained attendance.”
There is no commitment or joining fee to participate, just a small charge for each session, which is held Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7-8 p.m.
“This is a great way to invest in yourself and your health,” Parker said.
“It gives you a greater self-worth when you are physically and mentally fit,” he added.
From his earlier days as a high school athlete, to his discipline as a Marine, then as a motivator for his own office, Parker continues to motivate the private sector now through a new direction in fitness.