MIDLAND COUNTY, TX (KWES) - It's common for parents to have an influence on their children when it comes to picking a career field, but have you ever seen it done for over a century?
It's happening right here in Midland for the McKinney family. It's more than tradition, it's a lifestyle to protect and serve their community.
The latest generation of the McKinney family to earn a badge, Ethan McKinney, is working under his dad, Chief Deputy Rory McKinney. Rory took over the position after his father, Clayton McKinney, but their family legacy goes even further back in time.
"It's something I've always wanted to do." said Ethan. "Being able to help people and be there to put the people who need to go away, away, I guess."
"We go all the way back to when Pat Garrett killed Billy the Kid," said Rory. "One of his deputies was Kip McKinney, he's my great-great grandfather or great-great uncle."
For the McKinney's, protecting their community was something they didn't have to think about much.
"I didn't really have to do much of that because they already knew, kinda like I did growing up, that this was their career path," said Rory. "You gotta love it to do it but you're not gonna make a lot of money doing it, you gotta love it."
Rory earned a love for the job when he tagged along with his father, a bonding experience he made sure to share with his sons too.
Ethan was about 10-years-old when he and his brother went on patrol with his dad on 4th of July.
"At first he [Rory] tried to come off kinda nice and tell them that they can't pop fireworks in the street and they popped off at him," said Ethan. "He raised his tone up a little bit and got a little upset with them and when he got in the car, he kinda looked at us and we started giggling and he started laughing."
Ethan is the third generation to work under Midland County Sheriff Painter, someone who has become part of the family.
"Him and my grandad were very close and that made dad and him even that much closer, to where dad is pretty much like another son to Painter," said Ethan. "So he welcomed me just like a granddad would."
Ethan hopes this way of life will continue even when he has children.
"I wouldn't force him to but I would also tell him what my dad told me," said Ethan. "He told me that you're never going to be rich doing this job but you'll be rich in other things."
Chief Deputy Rory McKinney has another son, Evan, who is also planning to join the force. Ethan said his goals are to eventually become a Texas Ranger like his granddad.