McLouth teacher gets ready to deploy to Iraq
Shawn Miller plays many roles in his life. At his home in Tonganoxie, he is the loving and devoted husband to his wife, Gretchen. At work, he is a mentor, teacher and role model to dozens of students at McLouth Middle School.
He even worked as an assistant coach on the McLouth High School football team.
But now his country has asked him to continue a role he has played since he was 17 years old, that of a member of the Kansas National Guard.
Earlier this week, Miller, a captain and commander of Charlie Battery, 1st Battalion, 161 Field Artillery, left home to continue training in preparation for a future deployment to Iraq.
"It's so great to have a community like McLouth," Miller said last month in an assembly of the middle and high school students in his honor. "It's tough to leave such a great community like this."
Tom Pierce, assistant principal at McLouth, said Miller dropped a bombshell when he told the faculty about his future deployment.
"We were all very disappointed when it happened," Pierce said. "At the same time, we are very proud of him and he's got all of our prayers and support."
During the Sept. 21 assembly, Pierce spoke about how great of an asset Miller has been to the school and how he has been a great role model to many of the students.
He also presented Miller with two McLouth Bulldog flags.
"This is something he can look at and remember we are all here thinking of him."
Pierce said when Miller returns, the school will hang the flag in Miller's honor.
Leaving isn't just hard for Hester and his wife. During the assembly teary-eyed students, some who have had him as a teacher and some who didn't know him at all, lined up to thank Miller for what he was doing and to wish him a safe return.
"I'm going to miss being in the classroom and interacting with all the students," said Miller, who teaches seventh and eight grade science.
During the assembly, Pierce told Gretchen Miller that if she ever needed anything like help around the house, to not hesitate to call the school and they would find someone to help.
Miller said he knows those making the pledge really meant it. "It's so great to have a community like McLouth. The whole town is really there for you," Miller said
Miller couldn't say specifically when he was going to be deployed to Iraq, but he said it would be at the beginning of next year.