KILLEEN, Texas — October 5 is world teacher day and here in Central Texas some of those teachers are also U.S. military veterans.
Meet James Cook a popular 5th-grade teacher at Cedar Valley Elementary school in Killeen.
Before becoming a teacher, Mr. Cook spent more than two decades serving his country as a soldier in U.S. Army.
”22 and a half years,” said Mr. Cook. “I was a Seargent 1st Class when I retired and that was 2014.”
Though he now lives and teaches in Killeen, the classroom he grew up in was nowhere near Texas.
”All the way across the other side of the country,” said Mr. Cook. “I’m north New Jersey originally. When I graduated high school, I went into the military and that eventually brought me to Fort Hood. Me and my family and when we got here, we said we’re not leaving.”
Now Mr. Cook and his wife are teachers with KISD and leave a lasting impression on the students of the Fort Hood community.
”Last year he helped me stay focused more, and this year,” said Adailyn Duffy, student in Mr. Cook’s class. “He's making me stay focused more instead of worrying about everything else around me.”
It’s not just the students being impacted in the classroom.
”Some of these kids, they’ve helped make me stronger. They've helped me get past my own injuries because I think about them and I'm here for them,” said Mr. Cook.
”Mr. Cook is the best and he’s like a father to most of us,” said Adailyn Duffy.
That's why Mr. Cook has a message for all his students.
”I never gave up on myself, I'll never give up on you, I don’t want you to give up on yourself,” said Mr. Cook. “So, when life gets tough, you always have cover right here in Mr. Cook’s class and I love you.”
James Cook said he proudly served his country for over 20 years and continues to serve as a father figure and teacher to children in the Fort Hood community; even being named last year’s teacher of the year in Killeen.