When Sgt. 1st Class Stephen Lewis retired from the Army after 22 years, he didn't expect he would ever end up in a classroom. "I got bored after I retired and I hung around the house and a buddy of mine suggested I go teach JROTC somewhere."
Lewis decided to give teaching JROTC a try, while he waited for a job to open up at Fort Knox. That was 20 years ago. Cadet Major Denver Neal says "he could be doing whatever he wants, but he chooses to help us."
Three days a week, Lewis' class of cadets learn skills that help them in other classes. For example, reading maps helps with math... and essays and personal portfolios help with English.
The other two days, students dress out in uniforms and perform cadet challenges. It all adds up to an experience that builds confidence and life skills. Lewis says "some of them do have low self esteem when they come and I feel we as instructors motivate and put them out in the limelight and show them hey you are somebody, somebody cares about you."
Over the years, Lewis' students have moved on to become teachers, fighter pilots, and work on battleships. Neal says "he is so inspiring from so many different people. When we go out of town to competitions there are people that come up to him and know exactly who he is and they say stories that he has helped them in life."
Lewis gives the credit for his students successes entirely to their efforts. "What they do, they do on their own. If I had a little part to that, that's fine. I met my mission."