Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas --
The uniform: an unequivocal symbol of what an Airman stands for, where their loyalties lie, and who they’ve pledged their allegiance too. The people behind the uniform, however, are as diverse as the nations they originate.
Born in Toluca, Mexico, Senior Airman Javier Perez, 47th Medical Support Squadron diagnostic imaging technologist, arrived in the United States in 1996 with hopes of a better life and to explore new opportunities. To his amazement, he discovered and developed a passion that would grow with him into adulthood.
“Bowling for about 18 years now and learning everything I can from the people around me has turned my hobby into a passion,” Perez said with a smile.
As far as Perez can remember, bowling has always been a part of his life.
“I've grown up bowling; watched it Sunday mornings on TV with my dad and grandpa; spent Saturdays bowling in my league,” said Perez. “I've had great and sad memories while at the bowling alley; it has always felt like home to me and it is something I will never stop doing.”
Perez has competed in his fair share of tournaments all around Texas, to include the San Antonio Bowling Association tournament monthly singles event, Professional Bowlers Association experience league, The National Bowling Association Monday league, Laughlin Air Force Base bowling league and many more in Dallas, Austin, Houston, Laredo and El Paso.
Perez didn’t hesitate to give credit to his father, the man who exposed this humble bowler to the sport at the early age of four.
“I’ve always looked up to my dad. He's been such a huge influence not just in bowling, but in teaching me the values and life lessons that have been essential in making me who I am today,” said Perez.
In his mind, bowling hasn’t always been about competing; it’s about a commitment to bettering himself and learning how even the smallest details can impact your next frame. Whether it was for scholarship, a youth tournament or just for fun, nothing could keep the focused bowler off the lanes.
“I remember my dad telling me, ‘Just keep to yourself, keep calm, because your next shot is crucial,’” said Perez, who was runner up in the 2015 United States Bowling Congress Texas State tournament, singles division.
Perez’s next ‘shot’ in life was indeed crucial, because on a hot summer day in July of 2012, he laced up his boots and joined the ‘world’s greatest air force’.
“I wanted to be part of something bigger than myself and make a difference as a medic in the Air Force,” said Perez.
Now a diagnostic imaging technologist, Perez sees more ‘pins’ than ever.
“As a diagnostic imaging technologist, I help doctors properly diagnose patients with optimal images and assist in special procedures," said Perez. “Between bowling pins and bone pins, I’ve seen it all.”
Since joining, Perez’s love for the sport has helped him turn his ambition into another goal.
“I want to join the Air Force bowling team, with the ultimate goal of earning a spot on Team USA’s bowling team,” said Perez. “Being able to compete for a spot on the Air Force team would be a stepping stone in achieving that goal.”
Throughout his life, bowling has been a constant influence on Perez’s well-being, and through that he hopes to spread this passion to others.
"Growing up with his bowling being so prominent in my life and having that close bond with my dad, helped to instill life lessons through a unique perspective,” said Perez. “It has shaped me to be a better person and a better Airman; something everyone can attribute in their own lives."