Pete was serious minded but side-splittingly funny.
He never claimed to be the greatest athlete in the world, but he would whip your butt with determination, physical strength and a “never give up” mentality.
Pete was aware of the world and its history. He read 900 page Russian history books for fun.
Pete was a leader and a teammate. He was President of his fraternity, Pi Kappa Phi, at Texas A&M. He was involved in community service. He was involved in ministry. He loved people, especially those in need.
He was given the Leadership Award and was platoon leader in basic training at Fort Benning. Two great comments were made about Pete in basic. The first was from a soldier that answered the phone once when I called to check on some paperwork for Pete. The soldier replied, “Oh, sir, you are Peter Burks’ dad? He is doing very well, sir. In fact, I tell you, I would follow that man into battle”. On graduation day from basic, one of his instructors said, “Sir, it’s a shame that Peter is going to be a commissioned officer. He would have made one damn fine drill sergeant.”
Pete was elected president of his class at Officer Candidate School, and qualified to go to Ranger school, the most strenuous school in the Army. He began Ranger school at the same time his unit was preparing in Germany to leave for Iraq. Pete hurt his back in Ranger School and was unable to finish that session. He could have waited five weeks and started over with the next group, but he felt guilty for pursuing his personal goal while his fellow soldiers were readying to deploy. He decided to go join his unit and was determined to go back to Ranger school and get his tab after his deployment.
He was the first-born child of Alan Burks and Jackie Merck. He was the older brother to three sisters and a brother – Ali, Sarah, Zac and Georgia. He was a mentor to kids thru Young Life, a role model in his fraternity and a faith-filled inspiration to countless people. He was looked up to and admired by everyone he met. He never forgot them, and vice versa.
Pete was also engaged to Melissa (Missy) Haddad.
Bottom line, Pete was a warrior, a lover, a thinker, a comedian, a brother, a teammate, a leader and a son. And he was damn good at all of them.
Pete also left behind a “reading list” – books that he felt every American should have to read to understand what we’re facing.