Lt. Col. Gary Roberts wins VFW National Citizenship Education award

By Melissa Renahan on May 14, 2013

"When I was in high school, if someone had told me I'd wind up a teacher, I'd have laughed," joked retired Lt. Col. Gary Roberts, Air Force JROTC instructor at Clover Park High School. "After I'd been in the Air Force working as a pilot, I was asked to be an instructor pilot ... and I assumed that my command saw something in me that I wasn't even aware of yet."

Saturday, May 4, during the CPHS Air Force JROTC annual Awards Banquet and Military Ball, Roberts was again recognized for his teaching gift when he was presented with one of the Veteran of Foreign War's National Citizenship Education awards, for grades 9-12, for the state of Washington. The awards, which were announced in January, are given to a select number of educators across the country every year.

"It was because of the love that he shows for the cadets and the future of our country," said retired Air Force Master Sgt. Elmer Clark, VFW commander for Post 91 and District 3, who was responsible for Roberts' nomination.

"I'm having just as much fun in the classroom as I did in the cockpit," said Roberts, who has been teaching JROTC at Clover Park High School for the last 15 years. "But I can still learn a lot from these kids ... they manage to always ask new questions that make me think."

In addition to the time he spends in the classroom, Roberts also spends hundreds of hours working with the school's drill teams, leading them to four national title championship awards at the VFW Drill Computation last summer.

"I'm not out for recognition, but I appreciate it," Roberts added. "I think that's why I've never missed a day of work, I just love what I do."