We Do Matter


Ron Whitler The Literacy Center Board of Director’s Chair

I think all of us maybe at some point in our life have had a “Chris” that comes into our lives.  The feeling you have after enabling someone to become successful is very powerful.   My “Chris” was a soldier of mine I had for at least 4 years.  Kelley was always down on himself and had absolutely no motivation.  My job as a Non-Commissioned Officer was to train and motivate soldiers as well as maintain their safety.

I was fortunate to have good parents and excellent teachers that supported me in my learning years and even into college.  That being said I felt it was my job to promote education to everyone.  All my soldiers had to attend some type of college course under my watch.  I did not care of its delivery (internet/brick & mortar) method.   The important thing to me they were learning.

Kelley was not motivated to attend any classes which did not go over well with me.  Come to find out he had a reading impairment.    We found Kelley a tutor and she worked with him extensively.  Once he was able to move thru that time period in his life things became much better for Kelley.  But the resistance was still there to better himself with a college education.  I did not give up on him.

Once Kelley’s time in service was up he decided to leave the Army.  As he was leaving I told him to get an education or he would regret it.  Fast forward many years later I was sitting in my office and I heard a voice saying is Ron in?  My administrator said yes he is and to go on in.  To my surprise it was Kelley.  The last soldier I expected to see after so many brow beatings from me.

As the pleasantries were exchanged, Kelley said to me “I graduated from college, I have a good job and married with kids and own a home”.  He goes on to say I owe a big thank you to you for staying on me and pushing me to learn.  I told Kelley “he did all the work himself not me, I just helped you find a reason to do it”.

I learned one thing from this experience is that we all should have at least one or two Kelley’s in our life.   I challenge all who read about Chris and Kelley to find someone they can assist with in learning to read or write or just promote life long learning. This would enrich your life beyond belief and together we could put adult literacy out of business.

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