A Nevada Marine saw an idea that he liked not long ago. Another veteran had given United States flags to a teacher or two who had made a difference in his life.
So this Nevada Marine thought, “Why not do it here?”
Chad Highland, a 1991 graduate of Nevada High School and a member of the United States Marine Corps from 1992 to 1996, said he had three people who made a huge difference in his life. One was his father, Steve Highland of Nevada, who is also a Marine.
The other two are teachers (one also a coach) who Highland had in the Nevada Schools — Mike Foley and Jim Shelledy.
Highland, who works for Automatic Systems in Ames, asked his two former teachers to get together with him recently so he could present both with a United States flag.
“Because of my dad and my coach (Foley), they taught me the discipline that made boot camp easy,” Highland said.
“Shelledy taught me the schooling that helped me accomplish finishing No. 1 in two classes (in the Marines),” Highland said. When he had to write a letter in the military, the task was accomplished pretty fast because of what he learned from Shelledy in his Principles of Technology class at Nevada High. “It (what he learned in that class) made my life so easy in the military.”
Not only does presenting the two mentors with flags honor them, but Highland said it also allows for two more flags to fly in the community.
“There are very few flags flying in the city of Nevada,” he noted.
Highland has two flags flying, with proper lighting, at his home in Nevada year-round.
The flags he purchased and presented to Foley and Shelledy were folded according to proper etiquette. “Mike (Foley) taught [all the etiquette of taking care of a flag] in his history classes,” Highland recalled.
Foley nodded. He did make that part of his classes at Nevada. Appreciation of the military and those who’ve served was important to Foley, who came within four numbers of being drafted into the Viet Nam War. Foley’s dad was a sergeant during World War II, and he had two brothers who served in Viet Nam.
Shelledy, who graduated from high school in 1973, said he had a draft number but was never called. The war in Viet Nam was ending. But like Foley, he had a father who had served during World War II in the United States Air Corps.
Both Foley and Shelledy are now retired from Nevada Schools, Foley in 2009 and Shelledy in 2012, but they felt honored that Highland would bring them together for a moment like this. Not only did they get presented a flag, but the three sat and visited about good times in the past. Highland laughed about how Shelledy always played a Marshall Tucker Band soundtrack during shop classes, and once got so upset about a ripped chamois that he actually swore. Highland and Foley also reminisced about the times they worked together on the Nevada High School football coaching staff. “Foley and I hugged each other first after the first and only playoff win in Nevada history,” Highland recalled.
“There are not enough American flags and not enough appreciation for teachers who’ve made such an impact on our lives,” Highland said.
He also stressed the concept of appreciation and cooperation. “Given today’s political climate, I would like to make one thing clear. We’re all Americans. We need to get along.”