Sgt. Tiffany Parker has been playing softball since she was 4 years old.

“I started with T-ball and it has continued throughout my life,” said Parker. “I’ve played on travel ball team and other teams throughout middle school, high school and college. It seems like I’ve always had a bat in my hands.”

Parker’s passion for the sport continues today. She recently returned to Fort Bragg with a gold medal after playing on the U.S. All Army Women’s Softball Team in the U.S. Armed Forces Softball Championship at Joint Base San Antonio, Texas, Sept. 18 through 23.

Her performance on the Army team led to her selection for the U.S. All Armed Forces team and playing in the ASA National Softball Championship in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Sept. 30 through Oct. 2.

When Parker is not on the softball field, she’s working at the Fort Bragg Blood Donor Center as the processing noncommissioned officer in charge. She said she has a lot of pride in her job.

“I love being a part of something bigger than me,” she said. “I tell people I save lives, but it’s really something bigger than that. All of us here are able to help people without even knowing them or ever even seeing them.”

One thing rates above blood and ball for Parker — her daughter, Michaelys, who has inherited her mother’s love and ability when it comes to the sport. Michaelys has grown up on the softball field, going to her first game at 4-weeks-old. At 3, she’s already hitting a ball off the tee and able to catch and throw.

Parker said that her parents have been instrumental in continuing to support her playing softball. They watched Michaelys for her during the tournaments and even brought her up for a game.

“If it wasn’t for my dad and my step-Kat (her nickname for her step-mom), I wouldn’t have been able to take advantage of this opportunity,” Parker said. “They always help me out when I need it and I’m so thankful.”

Two other Fort Bragg Soldiers played on the All Army team, Sgt. Shaquana Taylor on the women’s team and Spc. Derrick Hernandez on the men’s team. Parker said she’s forged life-long friendships as part of the black and gold community.

She said that she’s looking forward to the chance to compete for a spot on next year’s All Army Team, but will continue to play on Fort Bragg’s softball teams until then. Until the season picks up again, Parker said she can probably be found with some of her teammates at BP (batting practice).

She said that she always strives to improve some aspect of her game and credits her prowess on the field to her determination.

“Being a part of this team was very humbling,” she said. “It reminded me that there’s always someone out there better than you, but that shouldn’t stop you from trying out and doing your best. It’s important to always strive to be better and accomplish more.”