UNSUNG HERO: National Guard Recruiter Sgt. Maurice Taylor - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

UNSUNG HERO: National Guard Recruiter Sgt. Maurice Taylor

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JACKSON COUNTY -- A local National Guard Recruiter is being praised for his work with teens. Students part of Union and Jackson County CEO program's have learned life-long skills through his challenging exercises.

They said the way he communicates discipline, encouragement, and fun motivated them and gave them confidence. With a little push from National Guard Recruiter Sgt. Maurice Taylor, dozens of teens are learning skills they won't find in their textbooks.

"He was very good at leading our class and he wasn't rude or anything about it," said  Trico High School Junior Cierra Scott.
"He hyped us up. We got excited," added Carbondale High School Senior Kevin Lee. 

Sgt. Taylor works with students in the Jackson and Union County CEO programs.

"It's always been kind of my thing. I love interaction. I like having a good time. Doing team building, like for instance with the Jackson & Union CEO Program's, that's the most fun part about my job," said Taylor.

The Creating Entrepreneurs Opportunity program allows high school age students to get a glimpse at businesses and professions from the people behind them. Carbondale High School business teacher Jenna Jamieson meets with participating students every day from about 7:15-9a.m. at the Southern Illinois Airport in Murphysboro. Her students represent four different communities which are Murphysboro, Trico, Elverado, and Carbondale.

"Every time I go into that classroom with them I want them to know, that even though you're from different high schools, you're Jackson CEO today, so you're a family.," said Jenna.

She said, the time with Sgt. Taylor has transformed her students in a way she's never seen before.

"The team building with Sgt. Taylor really brought new energy to them to give them a new perspective on each other. It taught them leadership skills and I think it was just one of the best things I could early on in the semester," said Jenna.

"From start to finish you're a completely changed person," added Elverado High School senior Jessica Elson.

Sgt. Taylor goes over different exercises that requires trust in one another and for them to learn to communicate effectively.

"It was a very good experience and he was just very nice and a good leader," said Cierra.

"Just him and everybody else that was helping, they were all just very welcoming and easy to interact with," explained Jessica.

Sgt. Taylor is from Anna and the oldest of seven children. He said his upbringing and the last five years in the National Guard has instilled in him communication, social, and leadership skills. It's helped shape how he works with people, especially young people.
"If they can learn small skills from just the two or three hours they have with me every month, then I did my job," said Taylor.
Jenna and her students believe they are living proof that he's good at his job.

"We all came closer as a class and communicated a lot better with each other," said Cierra.
"That lets us go back to our schools and we can help lead others," said Jessica.  
"The National Guard doesn't receive as much attention for the work that they do and I think this kind of program is helpful for the betterment of the country," added Kevin.

Jenna said she's grateful to be to work with someone who has such a positive influence on her students calling him a priceless and one of a kind role model.

"He is willing to give his time to other people and I think that's something that we should all celebrate, is helping other people."

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