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Teacher, former student address ECMS Veterans Day event
Shaking hands with the vets
Students, faculty and staff at ECMS greet local veterans. - photo by Photo provided
Staff Sgt. Lucas Hynes told the students, staff, fellow veterans and visitors at Effingham County Middle School that he loves serving his country as a member of the Georgia Army National Guard. Hynes was one of two guest speakers at the ECMS Veterans Day program on Nov. 10.  
Hynes graduated from ECHS in 2000 and also attended ECMS and Springfield Elementary. In high school, he played soccer and football, was the president of his senior class, and also played the saxophone and the French horn in the ECHS band. Hynes joined the Army National Guard during his senior year in high school.  
After attending Georgia Southern University for one semester, Hynes’ Guard unit was called into active duty following the 9/11 terrorist’s attacks and the 19-year-old ended up serving two tours in Afghanistan and one tour in Iraq. During one of those tours, he was awarded the Purple Heart for being wounded in combat and a Medal for Valor for saving an Afghanistan official caught in a riot. Hynes eventually returned to and graduated from GSU with a degree in criminal justice.
While expressing his appreciation for everyone’s support and being referred to as a hero, Hynes told the crowd about his own personal hero, Army Ranger Pat Tillman.  
Hynes explained that Tillman, an outstanding athlete who played football for Arizona State University and the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals, had always dreamed of being an Army Ranger. After 9/11, Tillman turned down a contract offer of $3.6 million to continue playing pro football for the Cardinals
in order to enlist in the U.S. Army. After serving several combat tours, 27-year-old Tillman died in 2004, the unfortunate victim of friendly fire in the mountains of Afghanistan. In Hynes’ opinion, Tillman gave the ultimate sacrifices, a successful career and his life, to serve his country .     
ECMS teacher and retired Army Sgt. Allen Sheridan was the other guest speaker at the ECMS Veterans Day program. Sheridan joined the Army after graduating from Winter Haven Senior High in Florida and, after completing basic training, he studied at the Defense Language Institute/Foreign Language Training Center at the Presidio of Monterey, Calif., graduating from the basic Russian course. He went on to attend Advanced Individual
Training where he learned to listen to and report on Russian military radio communications. His first duty station was at U.S. Army Field Station Korea at Camp Humphreys, Pyong Taek, Republic of Korea, where he qualified for the rank of sergeant.
Two tours in Germany followed and eventually Sgt. Sheridan returned to Savannah’s Hunter Army Airfield where he served two years and met his wife, Mironda.  After further instruction in Russian, he served as an instructor, teaching new language graduates how to listen to and report on Russian military radio communications.  Sheridan’s final duty station was with the 106th Military Intelligence Battalion, 6th “Arctic Light” Light Infantry Division, Fort Richardson, Alaska, where he served as a platoon sergeant and Arctic survival instructor.
Sheridan retired from the Army in 1994, attended Armstrong Atlantic State University majoring in middle grades education and then began his second career as a middle school social studies and earth sciences teacher at ECMS. He is also the advisor for the ECMS Miniatures Gaming Club and serves as a Royal Rangers Commander for third through sixth grade boys. He and his wife, Mironda, have been married 23 years and have three sons.