Sgt. Terry Polston has taught the D.A.R.E program in the Warsaw School District to about 350 kids a year for the past 17 years. If you do the math, that’s nearly 6,000 students with Polston’s imprint.
"An entire generation of Warsaw kids loves this man. And they love him because his unique ability to create a relationship with each one of them," says Denny Duncan, principal at Jefferson Elementary School where Polston taught Thursday.
"He's just one really great guy," shares 7th grader Sam Daggett.
"I'll always remember his hugs," Kahler Snow adds.
Officer Polston, or more commonly known as ‘OP’, advises the children against things like drugs and smoking. But, this teacher doesn’t have to resort to the textbook to teach this lesson.
"Seven years ago I was diagnosed with lung cancer," says Polston.
Polston never smoked, and his doctor says, that’s probably why he is still alive today.
"When I heard he was sick, I just thought how unfair that could be because he is such a great man,” says student Samantha Jensen. “But I know that he'll be able to get through this."
Sgt. Polston is overwhelmed by the support from his family, friends and students. But then came support he never expected. President George Bush sent Sgt. Terry Polston a letter recently, commending him on his strength and spirit. Polston was very honored.
"It made it easier sometimes to come to work on those days I don't feel so good to know when I get here, I'm going to have the encouragement. I'm going to have the kids that care," Polston shares.
"When something is threatened to be taken away from you, that's when you see how precious it really is. I enjoy life so much more now."