By: Rebecca S. Jones
African-American News & Issues
Born the youngest of six children to Robert J. and Wilma J. was an ambitious, determined and intelligent baby boy, Kevin Malonson. He was birthed two minutes after his twin sister Karen. At an early age, Kevin participated in activities that would prove to be beneficial and rewarding to his elected career. Around the age of seven, he recalls one of his first fishing experiences’ at an annual family outing in Huntsville’s Texas State Park. It was at such a time that he expressed the thrill that he experienced from fishing and loading up a cooler full of perch. When he returned back to his home in Pinemont Plaza he and his family cleaned and cooked the fish and he remembers the joy and memories associated with the event. This experience ignited a passion within him that peaked his curiosity in regards to nature and wildlife.
Kevin’s preliminary educational background started at Candy Stripe Academy in Acres Homes. Afterwards, he attended Katherine Smith Elementary where he was selected as a Crossing Guard. He recollected of how he was given a captain’s badge to accommodate his position. He also received several awards and honors for his exceptional academic performance. He later attended Clifton Middle School and was enrolled in the Magnet Program. There, he was active in competitive sports which included: football, track and swimming. His athleticism in swimming helped to be an asset in the career that he would later become a part of. By the time that he reached high school Kevin had already acquired and made strides that would help prepare him to become a leader.
Robert Curley, his older brother served as one of Kevin’s inspirations. Robert was a Texas peace officer for many years and is now a federal law enforcement officer. Kevin had always envisioned a career in a law enforcement related career. Therefore, he attended the High School for Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice. Consistent with the previous leadership roles that Kevin had already become accustom to operating under, he was in the ROTC in high school. Being apart of the ROTC program at his high school served to instill a desire to want to serve his country. Kevin also reminisced of a program which was a summer job that he participated in. The camp was sponsored by South Park’s YMCA and Kevin revealed that his grandmother the late Gazette DeWalt was instrumental in ensuring that he was active in the summer camp. It was an academic partnership implemented by Youth Opportunity Unlimited (YOU) which was geared toward developing minorities with leadership skills and assisting with academic credits. He excelled by demonstrating significant leadership abilities in the extra-curricular activity course. This was one feat that prepared him for his next phase in life.
Accordingly, Kevin enlisted in the United States Navy and served during the Persian Gulf War era. Initially, he considered a career in the U.S. Navy by seeking out officer programs. However, he decided against it when he realized that there were certain opportunities that were not readily made available to minorities during that time. At which point he made the decision to end his enlistment, which afforded him with the opportunity to become a U.S. military veteran.
The talented soldier then went on to attend Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas. During his tenure at Lamar he was involved in several campus activities and organizations inclusive with: serving in the senior capacity of the Student Government, elected as the vice president and president of the Criminal Justice Association, Residence Assistant where he was promoted to Community Advisor in charge of programming and he was president of the Residence Hall Association. It was during his Winter Break in college that he experienced in his 2nd year of his undergraduate studies that he met Mr. Clay Shock, a game warden of Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) in Matagorda County. Mr. Shock was conducting an inspection for compliance when Kevin began to ask him about his career. Immediately, Mr. Shock commenced to explaining to him the procedures and tasks associated with his career path and encouraged Kevin to do an internship with the department. Being highly motivated, Kevin did just that and followed up and applied for a summer-paid internship with TPWD. He was accepted and the program equipped him with a hands-on perspective of the game warden career. This feat helped him to decide his career choice and lifestyle. In May of 2000 his studies were completed and he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice. Immediately following graduation he went into training for a position within TPWD at the Game Warden Training Center in Austin, Texas. He completed his training within seven months and made sure that he met up with all the guidelines required to become a game warden. Such guidelines entailed him meeting all peace officer requirements posed by the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education (TCLEOSE) in addition to other requirements set forth by TPWD.
During the probationary period of his first duty assignment in Jefferson County, Malonson was confronted with a tragedy that led to a colleague being killed in the line of duty. Although this horrendous ordeal proved to be very traumatic for him, he had decided long ago to turn every negative effect into a positive one. Thus, the experience helped to confirm to him what true brotherhood was all about. Not long afterwards, he was released from his probationary period and transferred to his home of origin in Harris County on April 1, 2003.
Since that time, he has received various trainings and certifications consistent with becoming an effective game warden and has always been apt to take on new and innovative positions within the department. In, November of 2012 Kevin completed his certification with San Antonio Police for Executive and Dignitary Protection. Not long afterwards, a pinning ceremony was held in his honor where he received accolades for his accomplished success in addition to an esteemed promotion. Kevin indicated the joy that he felt at the ceremony by being accompanied by his daughter, uncle and aunt: Roy Douglas and Shirley Ann Malonson, respectively and Senator John Whitmire who came to share in on his achievement. Continuing, an opportunity arose and the decorated soldier grabbed a hold of the position.
Currently, he is the lieutenant responsible for law enforcement recruiting for Texas game wardens. Along with that entitlement, he is the supervisor who manages interns and the recruiting process for Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. In regards to his newly elected position Lieutenant Malonson expressed that, “It’s challenging and really exciting all at the same time.” He continued, “I am elated about the privilege to help the agency keep the goals and the high set of standards in place in helping our agency to become more diversified”. Pursuant, he admonishes and recommends that minorities begin taking advantage of the opportunity to create a career within the TPWD. His recruitment philosophy rests along the lines of assuming that the preservation of career paths and opportunities in the outdoors occupation; are seen through the faces of the people in the state of Texas and are equally represented. Lieutenant Malonson has also been selected as a part of a newly developed agency wide task force. He has been operating in this recently developed unit of which the agency sought out to establish and ensure that the needs of the agency as a whole are met.
In an interview Lieutenant Malonson stated that he despises the, “disheartening affect of the crabs in a bucket mentality that is displayed by many African-Americans in the Black community”. He believes that it has placed a damper on the image of the Black perspective. Furthermore, it is his hope that more Blacks will begin to pull together to help foster a better community and future for our children to create more opportunities for them to excel.
Concluding, every activity, course and exposure to different fields throughout his childhood assisted with Lieutenant Malonson determining the best career choice that was suitable for him. Swimming was a skill that he developed at a young age that eventually became an asset to him. During an interview, he informed that the sport of swimming has been known as a major barrier to minorities in regards to pursuing a profession that requires the skill. Thus, he encourages that more parents and children within those communities become proactive in regards to assisting children with learning how to swim. “It is a much needed skill that can be utilized in more ways than one” stated Malonson. Additionally, he has chosen to lead by example, insomuch that he ensures that his 9-year-old daughter, Elise Michele Malonson actively takes part in swimming, hunting and fishing excursions to expose her to various activities.
Lieutenant Malonson has five siblings: Gregory Keith, Yolonda Gazette, Malissee Michelle, Robert Curley and Karen Lashawn. He enjoys listening to Classical and Jazz music.