Six degrees of separation – everyone knows someone in the Kentucky Guard

Border Bowl showcases talent, Kentucky Guard youth at annual rivalry

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Story by Staff Sgt. Steve Tressler, 138th Fires Brigade Public Affairs NCOIC

Steven Sims, brother of Joint Force Headquarters DEERS/ID Card Site Security Manager Sgt. Stephanie Sims, poses with teammate Tyler Hughes, son of 1/623rd Battalion Commander Lt. Col. Jeff Hughes at the Kentucky and Tennesse Border Bowl in Williamsburg, Ky., Jan. 15. (photo by Staff Sgt. Steve Tressler, 138th Fires Brigade)

Barren County High School running back and strong safety Tyler Hughes, an honor roll student, knows the National Guard isn’t just a sponsor for the annual Border Bowl played between Kentucky and Tennessee high school football all-stars.

For him, it’s a way of life. His father Jeff Hughes is a lieutenant colonel and commander of the Glasgow, Ky. – based 1st Battalion, 623rd Field Artillery.

Having a father in the military can be tough, especially with deployments, but the BCHS football star believes it has made him tougher in return.

“I’m proud of my father,” Tyler said. “He’s always been a great role model for me.”

Tyler said he doesn’t think that growing up with a dad in the military has made him any different than any of his friends. Other than the fact that his room always seems to be a little cleaner than his buddies usually are.

So is there anything he does at home that would surprise us?

“A lot of soldiers would be surprised by how much my father jokes around with me. I’ve seen him in front of his troops and he’s so serious. At home he can be a real clown” Tyler said.

Tyler wasn’t the only football warrior on the field Jan. 15, with Guard connections.

Anderson County High School defensive lineman Steven Sims is one big ‘kid.’  At 6 feet 3 inches tall and 245 pounds he’s hardly a baby.

Sgt. Stephanie Sims, Joint Force Headquarters DEERS/Identification Card site security manager, hugs her younger brother Stephen Sims, Anderson County High School defensive lineman and player selectee of the 2011 Kentucky and Tennessee Border Bowl. (photo courtesy of the Sims family)

Tough? You could say that. His job as a defensive lineman is to fight off 300 pound offensive linemen and tackle 190 pound guys running full speed before they get too far.

So where did he learn that kind of toughness? The answer is one you might not expect from a rough, tough football player.

“My sister,” he said.

“She’s a single mom and a sergeant with Joint Forces Headquarters.”

Steven said he and his sister, Sgt. Stephanie Sims are very close and that he’s immensely proud of her. So proud that he hasn’t ruled out possibly following in her shoes and joining the military following high school.

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