Warren County’s first millennium baby has turned 20.
The first baby of the new century, William Darrell Rowland, was born Jan. 1, 2000 at 7:27 p.m. and weighed 9 pounds, 13 ounces.
Rowland says that fun fact is something he rarely mentions in passing conversation.
“I don’t feel special, to be honest about it,” said Rowland, who goes by Will. “To me, it’s just another birthday. If it comes up in conversation, I’ll happily talk about it though. It’s cool.”
Since he graced the front page of the Southern Standard in a picture with his mother, father, big sister and Dr. Bryan Chastain on Jan. 5, Will entered adulthood with a determination to serve his country.
“The biggest turning point so far was joining the military and the Navy,” said Will. “That was the defining moment of my life. It seemed right for me to do that. I didn’t see myself going to college or being outstanding in any other area so I thought that I should do the right thing and serve my country. I wanted to make everyone proud. I thought this was best for me and best for my family.”
After graduation from Warren County High School in 2018, he left civilian life for one of service. He was sent to Illinois for boot camp and then to Mississippi for job training.
“That’s when I got my orders. It said I would be going to California to be stationed with the Marines. That was a turn I wasn’t expecting,” said Will. “My job title is logistics specialist. In the regular Navy, I would be ordering supplies and handling equipment. However, they have one with the Marines, so I’m with the medical logistics company. We order and handle medical supplies for the war fighters, anyone going out on deployment.”
He currently lives at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, the Corps’ largest West Coast expeditionary training facility encompassing more than 125,000 acres. It houses more than 38,000 military family members and has a daytime population of 70,000 with military and civilian personnel.
“It is a big change from Warren County. I wasn’t expecting to go there. It definitely helped me become a better person. I can adjust to situations better now.”
Along with an older sister, Alexis, Will is a big brother.
“My younger brother, Wes, is 19. He was born 11 months after me in December of 2000, so we are very close. I try to be a good role model for him and set a good example. I also have a stepsister, Zoie.”
For the first baby born in 2020, Rowland offers a piece of advice.
“Time goes by very fast. Don’t take any moment for granted. You’ll feel like you have your whole life ahead of you, but it can pass in the blink of an eye. Before you know it, you’ll wake up and it’s your 20th birthday. Enjoy your childhood and don’t take any moment of it for granted.”
Future plans for Rowland is signing up for a second term of active duty once this five-year service is complete.