Dell Parker was born during World War II into a family riven by the conflict. His father, William, died during the Guadalcanal Campaign not too long after Dell was born. This broke his mother, Alice. She took solace in a bottle and her neglect, combined with occasional bouts of physical abuse, left an impression on the young boy.
As Dell grew older, he found it was safer to hang out with kids on the street rather than face what was at home. It was only through the timely intervention of his grandmother, who taught him how to bake during their visits together, that he actually got his life on track.
The burgeoning surfing culture along the southern California coast also provided solace. Dell became an accomplished long board surfer, spending his free time riding the waves when he wasn’t working odd jobs.
Being drafted to go to Vietnam sent his life into an unexpected direction.
Dell became a combat medic and saw first-hand that he could save lives through his own skill and tenacity. He caught a bullet during a particularly heavy skirmish near the end of his second tour. Suddenly, ‘Doc’, as the men in his unit called him, was the one who needed saving. Unfortunately, they were in a hot zone and the possibility of timely rescue was fleeting. The rest of the men made Dell as comfortable as they could before returning to the fighting and he resigned himself to his fate. That is until a stranger in a battered helmet and dirty fatigues sat beside him and told him that he had a choice. He could die or he could live.
The discreet flash of fang clued Dell into just what he was being asked to choose. Closing his eyes, he gave a nod and whispered, “Yes.”