Teachers are probably the most underrated yet the most powerful professionals in the whole world. Their work has a long-term impact on not just the lives of the children they teach but on society as a whole. They have the power to shape generations, impact minds an make the world a better place.
We have been placed above and beyond with such teachers, Major Sal Fiorella and First Sergeant Ray Dakos who run the JROTC program at our Globe High School.
You see, I have been waiting, waiting to see if they would do what many other teachers have done before, waiting to see if they would grow weary, lose hope or just plain give up.
As a parent of a special needs child, we are too familiar with the disappointment of a discouraged teacher, now as the first half of the year is upon us and as many teachers simply slipped into survival mode prior to the long awaited winter break, here they are still pouring themselves out for our daughter, Ella.
Ella suffers from Crohn’s Cerebral Palsy, Scoliosis, seizures and pituitary glands problems.
While Ella is able to stand and walk, she does have a wheelchair at her disposal, at nearly 15 she is the size of a 5-6-year-old and is unable to communicate like most of us.
Major Fiorella embraced us and welcomed her into the program with open arms, never allowing us to feel her disabilities would be a problem.
Ella takes pride in wearing her uniform as do my husband and I as parents of a cadet, she is now a part of the color guard and was recently distinguished as that by the battalion.
We want the community to know that while our town is small, there are a lot of good things happening in it, and this JROTC program being led by these great individuals has opened the door to kids with disabilities ever since Major Fiorella took over and he welcomes them all.
Last year Major Fiorella was chosen as Rural Teacher of the year for the state of Arizona and for Gila County, and this year was runner up at the National Rural Teacher of the Year. That alone tells us he is doing something right for our community.
Major Fiorella and First Sergeant Dakos, we want you to know how thankful we are that you have not given up on our Ella this year and shown her and us all the love and compassion.
You know better than anyone else that this year has been a hard year, with every milestone crossed, there has been a new mountain to climb. With every problem overcome, there was a new problem that seemed to take its place. As it goes sometimes in our world, this year has been a never-ending journey to try to help quench the desire to meet all her needs.
We look forward to the rest of the year and what is to come and certainly to next.
The school may have found a teacher in you, but or Ella found a hero in you.
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.