The ROTC students at Joplin High bid 1st Sgt. Richard Banks good bye today. The instructor has taught the program for the past 12 years after serving 26 years in the army. Sgt. Banks tells News Talk KZRG he's so honored to have been a part of program where he's really been able to see the difference it's made in the lives of his students.
"You see their maturity level increase, you see the decision making process change. By the time they leave as seniors, it's amazing how much they've grown up. And I get a chance to help form that person that's going to be an adult; it's an awesome responsibility."
And as much as Sgt. Banks knows he's impacted their lives, he believes they've impacted his even more.
"They don't realize how much they inspire me. They don't really understand the potential they have many times, and they might not realize that potential until later on in life, but I think the values that I teach them will make a difference in their lives, and in turn, make a difference in the community."
Sgt. Banks says he was so inspired that a few years ago he decided to practice what he preached and went back to school to get his Masters degree. As for what the future holds, he plans to take it easy for a couple of months, and then hopes to find a job where he can still serve his community.