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Angels In Our Midst (General Gilley)
ESCAMBIA COUNTY - A 38-year army veteran whose last assignment was at the Pentagon, this officer had his pick of high paying jobs in the private sector. Instead, he figured his past could chart a course on which another generation could find success so he founded "STRIDE"...Students Taking Responsibility In Developing Excellence. Retired Major General Al Gilley still commands attention and this man of humble beginnings is still making strides... Voice of General Al Gilley; I'm an orphan. We were five kids with no parents. I was at the age of 11 when my father died. My mother died when I was seven. Major General Al Gilley; As poor as we were, we all decided to do better than our parents and all of us received our college degrees. I got my law degree and I went into the military and I became a two star general. That's the message he hopes will resonate on his latest volunteer assignment at Montclair Elementary School. The mission is to provide male role models who set high expectations. Meet the general's newest recruits...STRIDE members in training, the "A" Team. How is everybody? Good. "A" Team, on your feet, Prepare for inspection. Do your homework last night? Yes, Sir. Sandra Rush, Montclair Elementary Principal; I thought this was going to be a person who came in just that one time, you know. And come back periodically once a month. No, that's not the way it is. General Gilley is here every single day. Gilley; I know in my heart what I needed to do and what I wanted to do. So, yes, I come to the school everyday. I don't get paid. But, I don't ask for pay, I don't ask for recognition. What I ask for is if I could just help one of these young men. You like school: Yes, sir. You glad to be on the "A" Team? Yes, sir. You're going to represent this school well on the "A" Team. Yes, sir. All right. Quandrareck Jackson, "A" Team; We're the "A" Team. And what does it mean to be on the "A" Team? We're on the "A" Team, we get A's. I should never see an "A" Team member in the front office, should I? No, sir. General; I call them aside and I say, Look, I'm disappointed. I don't like what you did. I'm sure you don't like what you did. Mrs. Rush; Just to have a man, somebody they can sit and talk to and be able to express their feelings. You don't get that often. Through good grades and good behavior, these third grade boys will be promoted to full fledged STRIDE members in fourth grade. They'll be paired with volunteer adult STRIDE mentors. I will represent. I will represent. I'm going to see how you can say it. I will represent. I will represent. Gilley; We take them to Tallahassee. We take them to...see what a university is like and let them talk to a college student. We teach them how to act in public. Ezekiel Sanders, "A" Team; He taught us how to stand tall. And put your feet together and if your shirt tail is too long, you can tuck it into your pants. Borrowing from the military tradition, the general and the mentors hope to groom an army of good young men. Gilley; Loyalty, duty, respect selfless service, honor, integrity and personal courage and then add commitment to that. So, who are we? "A" Team. Thank you gentlemen. Work hard today, work hard today. O.K. Give yourselves a hand and get back to work, get back to work.