On this Veterans Day, we revisit our Eagles Insider Podcast interview with cornerback Nolan Carroll and his mother, Jennifer. Both of Carroll's parents served in the military and it had a profound impact on Carroll's childhood.
"I was born in Jacksonville, Florida and then I moved 15 minutes outside of Jacksonville to a town called Green Cove Springs, Florida. Both of my parents were in the military. My mom, she did 20 years in the Navy. My dad (Nolan) did 25-26 years in the Air Force. My mom was Lt. Commander and my dad retired as the Senior Master Sergeant in the Air Force. They put a lot of years in to discipline me almost the same way they were disciplined in the military, and I think that helped me really develop as a young kid with as far as knowing how to make the right decisions, knowing how to be on time, knowing how to do my job. Things in school with being on top of your homework and then that translated into playing sports and working hard, giving it your all and being a team player. I've always been that type of person. I've always been about the team, about putting friends and family first and doing everything you can for them to make the group successful."
Did you have a real appreciation for what your parents did with their careers in the military as a child, or is that something that comes along later when you look back at all that they've done?
"I think it comes later in life. When you're a little kid, you're not really focused on what your parents are doing. You just know that they're out working. Sometimes they might have to take you with them. I remember my mom sometimes had to take me to work and I didn't want to go. I didn't want to go and watch you work at a desk. Just looking back at it now at the people that my mom has interacted with and even my dad has interacted with in the service throughout the years, those people thanked them and appreciated them for the things that they were able to teach them.
"My parents were people that always wanted to try and help somebody else first. They always put somebody else over themselves if they thought they needed help or needed guidance. They did that for my siblings and I and they've done that for people who they barely even knew. Those people have come back and thanked them for that because that really changed their lives. A lot of people, I guess at the time, didn't have guidance. Coming into the military a lot of them were younger teenagers and my parents were already, probably in their 30s at that point and they had been through majority of it. For me, it showed the capacity of what they were able to accomplish throughout their years in the military and what they were able to do with some of the people they interacted with."
Jennifer Carroll turned in 20 years of military service and left the Navy with a long list of achievements - including a Meritorious Service Medal, two Navy Commendation Medals, two Navy Achievement Medals, a National Defense Service Medal, an Overseas Ribbon, two Coast Guard Special Operation Ribbons and an Expert Pistol Medal. Adding to her résumé, Jennifer was named Florida's lieutenant governor after spending seven years as a state legislator and also serving as executive director of the Florida Department of Veterans Affairs.
Jennifer, both you and your husband who is also named Nolan, had very successful, highly decorated military careers. How did the military influence help guide you as parents with raising Nolan and his two siblings?
"Beyond that, both my husband and I come from a Caribbean background and Caribbean families are very strict and demand respect, and we come from a very Christian background as well. So coupled with our military-structured background and respect and chain of command and doing what you're told and following orders, it just fell in line with how we raised our children to be good community stewards, to respect your elders, to follow the orders that you are given and to also give back.
"I'm glad to see Nolan now and starting up his foundation, The Nolan Carroll Foundation, that he has given back to the community which he came from to mentor young men who would like to get into the sports world and share with them some of the adversity and things that they need to be advised of how to conduct themselves, how to train themselves and what's to be expected, as well as scholarships he's given to students at his high school who have graduated after him and giving back to the community that way. I am appreciative of the lessons that we taught him of respect, following the rules, helping and giving others back is something that he's taken to heart as an adult."