JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- First Sgt. Terry L. Daniel is the instructor of the Junior ROTC program at Englewood High School, now one of the best JROTC programs in the area.
"Our main goal is to teach citizenship. Make everybody a better citizen," Daniel said.
First Sgt. Daniel served for more than two decades in the U.S. Army, retired, then accepted his current job in August 2012.
"I wanted to give back," he said.
At the time Englewood's JROTC program needed to be built up again.
"It just had come off the chopping block. When i got here it was pretty low. We just didn't have a lot," Daniel said.
"Before First Sgt. was here, it was a mess. It was definitely cadet-run program. We don't know how me made it through," said Lt. Major Maria Eggers said.
First Sgt. Daniel came in and made major changes, having been a part of the JROTC program when he attended high school in Tuskegee, Ala.
He knew the importance of having a strong program, especially at school located in Jacksonville's inner city.
"I can show these kids 'here's where I've come from 20 years ago. Here's where i come from and here's what you can potentially do,'" Daniel said. "They begin to gain confidence. You want self confidence in yourself and your abilities and that's what this offers, the way it's structured everybody has a chance to be a leader."
"If they can do that we won't have as many problems as we have with kids today," he continued.
The cadets here have bought into First Sgt. Daniel's philosophy.
They're now better prepared for their futures and they're now proud to say they're part of JROTC program that's respected around the state.
"Success won't be measured by whether you've got a degree, or whether you graduate from this college. Success will be measured by what you do in life overall," Daniel said.
First Sgt. Terry L. Daniel is "our Hero Next Door."
"He's a hero to everybody here. He's a hero to even more people he was in the army. He's one of those true heroes. He fought for us," Eggers said.
The Englewood JROTC will be in competition April 12 in Lake City at Columbia High.