By Whitney Black
Many people view the military as one of the most important and respected jobs in our country. Those in our military risk their lives everyday for citizens’ rights that some take advantage of on a daily basis. They leave their loved ones for extended periods of times to fight for some of the most basic freedoms without any question. One of those soldiers is WCHS’s own social studies teacher Dan Rector, who is returning to WCHS after being deployed in Afghanistan.
Rector has returned back to WCHS after being deployed at Camp Pamir (an Afghan National Army base) near Kunduz, Afghanistan for about 10 ½ months. Rector is glad to be back home and return to his job at WCHS.
“It feels great to be back at home with my family. It is always difficult to spend time away from your loved ones for such an extended period of time. It has also been nice to return to teaching here at WCHS. I have always loved how supportive the Whiteland community has been of my military service and I have truly appreciated all of the students and staff who have taken the time to welcome me back,” Rector said.
One thing that can be difficult for military members is being away from their loved ones and especially their children. Being away and missing important events in their lives can be difficult because that time can not be made up. Rector struggled with this while he was away.
“The toughest part of being away during a deployment is the time you lose with your family. It is especially hard as a parent when you’ve had multiple deployments because you only get so many years when your kids are still at home. Once you miss a year of their childhood, it is gone and you can’t make it up later,” Rector said.
With Rector being back brings a lot of excitement, especially from his coworkers. WCHS social studies teacher Natalee Lewis discussed how she is excited for him to be back and be home with his family.
“Having Mr. Rector back has been wonderful! Since he is such a big family man, it’s very comforting to know that he is reunited with his wife and children,” Lewis said.
Rector plays a special role in the social studies department because he has many real-world experiences to contribute and a different perspective on things. Along with that, he has impacted the teachers’ daily lives in a beneficial way. Lewis discussed how he has impacted her in teaching and character.
“Mr. Rector has impacted me in many ways both with teaching and outside of the classroom. He has taught me about leadership and how to treat other people. He’s just such a great person and a great friend. He’s taught me how to be a better person as well,” Lewis said.
Along with teachers, Rector has left an impact on his students. Junior Makayla Vinci discussed how she enjoyed having him as a teacher.
“He was really funny and very helpful. Before he left, he was really sad to leave. It made me realize how hard it is on them to have to leave their families. But, he was talked about how proud he was to be in the military and how much of an honor it was,” Vinci said.
Rector is adapting to his return back home and to WCHS well. He looks forward to coaching track and football and to being back with family and eating American food again. The social studies department, his students current and past, and all his athletes are all excited and thankful that he returned home safe and sound. While most social studies teachers just teach history, Dan Rector makes history.