16 Curb Appeal - Finalist #2: Staff Sgt. Jordan Willsey from Mishawaka

When a soldier comes home from war, it can take a while to adjust to the different surroundings. Family, work, and school can help, but often it takes a deep desire of service to succeed.

This 16 Curb Appeal finalist served two tours in Iraq and now leads other soldiers -- and local students.

Jordan Willsey is a man on a mission.

This 2000 Concord High School grad spent two tours in Iraq. Among his duties: driving fuel trucks on dangerous roads.

"It was intimidating to have a large bomb on the back of your truck," Jordan admits.

He came home with a clear goal in mind: he wanted to teach.

He works at Goshen High School as a JAG instructor, which stands for "Jobs for America's Graduates."

"We look at students that might struggle to graduate high school," he explains. "I strive for them to do good things in life. Community service, and not because you broke the law, but because you want to help the community."

But this teacher has another title.

"I'm currently a staff sergeant, I'm a platoon sergeant down at Grissom Air Force Base. I have 40 to 50 soldiers that report underneath me," Jordan explains.

"The Army has been wonderful for him," Jordan's mom Terry Wiley admits.

She raised him on her own, through tough times with even tougher love. She loves to garden, and since he's been travelling so much with the Army and school, she helps him out.

"I come over every week and mow his yard for him," she says.

That's when she got the idea to nominate him for the 16 Curb Appeal contest.

Jordan's Mishawaka yard is pretty basic: there's a hill and a sycamore tree, and a few shrubs line the porch. But there's something missing. A storm last fall took down a symbol that meant the world to Staff Sgt. Willsey.

"I had an American flag pole I put it up the first day I moved in. It blew it over, actually tore off half my roof that storm did. So I had to get a new roof," he recalls.

He'd really like to see the stars and stripes in his front yard again.

"I got a Vietnam vet that lives two houses down. This neighbor is a Navy vet," he says, pointing. "You know, veterans are everywhere. For a veteran to see a flag that looks nice, whether they're still in the service or past service, it gives them pride."

And helps them honor those who didn't come home. Jordan lost two people in his unit.

"Everything I do, especially on the civilian side, with the youth, I do it for those guys," Jordan explains.

Jordan's mom is also a teacher. She's a para-professional in Goshen and works with kids who have a number of challenges in the classroom.

Jordan says he gets his hard work ethic from her.

Click here to visit the voting page.


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