Gregory Tesch barely has time to sleep.
The Missouri State Highway Patrolman doesn’t get the requisite eight hours that’s for sure. Between his time as a state trooper enforcing laws on Missouri’s roadways and as a husband and father, the Lee’s Summit resident finds it therapeutic giving what little time he has to himself to others.
The mantra is simple for Tesch, a former United States Marine: “I have the same time available to me that others have. I just make the choice to volunteer to help others. Others make the choice to sit home and watch T.V. or to go to a sporting event or to go bowling or whatever the case may be. That’s the choice that I make.”
Tesch’s wife, Annette, is a probationary communications operator with MSHP and works at Troop A in Lee’s Summit. His daughter, Elizabeth, 24, graduates from UMKC School of Pharmacy May 18 and will be commissioned a captain in the United States Air Force. Tesch’s son, Karl, 22, in April departed for U.S. Air Force basic training at Lackland Air Force Base.
Tesch, who has a master’s degree in human resources management from Webster University, a bachelor’s degree in behavioral sciences from the U.S. Air Force Academy and an associate’s degree in criminal justice from Mineral Area College. A major in the Marines, Tesch was deployed to Qatar, Kuwait, Afghanistan and Iraq in support of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. He joined the MSHP July 1, 2008 and was assigned to Troop A in January of 2009.
His volunteer activities include pack trainer for Boy Scouts of America as well as work with American Red Cross as a disaster education presenter. Tesch also conducted smoke alarm deliveries and donated blood to the American Red Cross. Other activities include volunteer work as adult reading tutor with Literacy Kansas City, participation last year in the Special Olympics of Missouri’s annual Polar Bear Plunge in Longview Lake and the Law Enforcement Torch Run with the Lee’s Summit Police Department.
“A majority of my volunteer efforts are focused on giving back to the community because I think that I’m privileged to be here in America; to be in this community,” Tesch said. “I think I have an obligation to that blessing to give back.”
The effort put in by the retired Marine has not gone unnoticed by his peers at the MSHP. Tesch was honored with the 2012 Public Service Award during the highway patrol’s annual awards banquet April 13 in Columbia. It was the third time Tesch was nominated for the decoration.
“I appreciate the support provided to me by my chain of command,” he said. “I appreciate that they thought highly enough of my actions and involvement in the community to submit me for recognition a couple, few years in a row. Being the third year in a row, it was kind of like, ‘thank you for the nomination.’
“It’s still an honor to be recognized and honored amongst all my peers because the awardee is selected from all of the troops throughout the patrol. There are some tremendously noteworthy things being accomplished by citizens of the great state of Missouri everyday throughout the state. Troopers are a subset of these great citizens of the state of Missouri. A lot of them put in a full days’ work then go volunteer and help out. I’m humbled because there are so many others out there that I think also contribute to their communities in fantastic and meaningful ways.”