Caruthers, the son of Don and Donna Caruthers of Alton, Mo., served his country in the Army, worked at Ozarks Medical Center in West Plains and was a flight nurse for Air Evac. He served two tours in Iraq, and one in Kansas to prepare soldiers for deployment. After returning to Alton, Caruthers landed a job as a Consular Officer in Lima with the U.S. Department of State. So, his wife, Melody, and daughters, Gabrielle and Tabitha, pulled up stakes and headed to the large South American city.
Caruthers found out about the job on the internet, and was intrigued by what he calls, an "opportunity that popped up."
Caruthers' job consists of assisting people in need of a tourist or student visa, permanent visas, and, in some cases, international adoption. His work prevents people with criminal records or history of drug usage from moving to the U.S. He described himself as a "gatekeeper" for his home country and said his job was "very rewarding."
Caruthers describes his move as a learning experience for his young daughters, "Letting the kids have the opportunity to see that the world is a giant place filled with so many people, and teaching them that there is a lot of variety, you might as well get used to it," Caruthers said.
He wants his daughters to experience the world outside of southern Missouri. "You can't take your family in the Army; this was an opportunity that I could take my family out here. This is a great place to grow up, it really is, and I was glad that my kids were able to have as much of their childhood here, but at the same time it is a big world."
In Peru, his family takes part in shopping trips and tours of the Lima area to "get to know the community." Caruthers' daughters go to an American school where all classes are taught in English, but they get exposure to the Spanish language from the Peruvians. Academics are very important to the Peruvians. He says his wife, Melody, who taught at Alton Elementary for 15 years, has begun to cook and bake for the employees at the Embassy, providing them with food they miss from the U.S. She takes pride in baking cookies and making soup for the Embassy community.
Caruthers is serving a two year stint before moving on to another location. In April 2013, his family will leave Peru and move to Equatorial Guinea, Africa. While in Africa, his children will be home-schooled and take online classes, due to there being no school for them to attend.
Caruthers describes this experience as. "An opportunity that I just didn't see was available. I think a lot of kids in south Missouri grow up, and adults too, feeling like they are sort of trapped here. But if you have the guts, opportunities are available. Go for it. The coolest part about my story is that there are opportunities out there and you don't have to have an education that's going to cost your parents $50,000 a year to send you to," Caruthers said.
Caruther writes an online blog for his family, which includes another daughter, Amery, of West Plains, and friends to follow his family adventures. The address is: http://ycthepenandthesword.blogspot.com.