"I had to learn to do things without being told how," Fulkerson said.
It was a hard lesson to take on that extra responsibility but he managed it and earned a better outlook on life.
Fulkerson was born prematurely and spent a lot of his formative years with his mother's parents. He claims his mamaw, Mary Louise, got him where he is today.
Mary Louise said, "The doctor's told us if he had gone to day care he wouldn't have survived--he would have caught everything there."
Today he is a healthy senior looking at graduation, college and career choices.
This semester's classwork is challenging Fulkerson becuase he is taking on subjects for which he has no background welding and computer technology.
Fulkerson talks about taking apart computers as an exciting but difficult task. He remembers similar struggles with other classes such as Spanish and expects the hardest part of school is still to come.
Fulkerson played football with Grayson County High School all four years and was part of the weight-lifting team. Fulkerson would jump at the chance to play college ball if he received a full scholarship. However, he is more likely to attend ECC.
Fulkerson expects the hardest part of school is still to come. Next semester he plans to be starting basic college classes with career choices of radiology or culinary arts.
Radiology is something that Fulkerson is contemplating. Culinary arts is something he already dabbles in at home. Fulkerson loves to cook and has since "he was old enough to sit at the table," says his papaw.
Fulkerson's love of cooking serves him well as an employee of Farmers Feed Mill Restaurant. He started working at the restaurant in 2002 and is anxiously awaiting the reopening in late February.
At Farmers, Fulkerson is currently a cook and expects to get some experience as a server before long. Fulkerson's older brother, Kyle, and cousin, Damon, also work at Farmers.
His family is an important part of his life. Fulkerson shares his birthdate with one of his younger sisters, Krista.
"It feels like having a twin and deprives me of many things," joked Fulkerson, but his love for his sisters is evident.
"I'm the only person allowed to pick on them," said Fulkerson.
Fulkerson attends Antioch Baptist Church where he sings in the choir and is a member of the Bible Trivia Team.
He has also helped in the younger Sunday School classes as an assitant teacher.
Fulkerson learned a lot about people from his church family and his parents, David and Mona Fulkerson.
He also learned to be polite and respect his elders which has remained an important characteric to Fulkerson. It's almost as important as still having his papaw.