Kilgore High School resource officer bids students farewell as he heads to Iraq - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

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Kilgore High School resource officer bids students farewell as he heads to Iraq

For the past seven years he's been watching over East Texas students. Now, Kilgore High School resource officer - Richard Stanley - is switching gears. KLTV 7's LaKecia Shockley tells us more on how he's headed to Iraq on his first deployment and the students who will miss him.

"It's really just a sad day, I mean he's been here since I've been here and he's really close to my family," said Jessica Dukes, a junior at KHS.

For Jessica Dukes, who is fighting back tears on officer Richard Stanley's last day at Kilgore High, it's bittersweet.

"If you're having a bad day and you're just on the verge of tears just seeing him makes you want to smile," said Dukes.

Officer Stanley, who is a Navy Reservist, will be deploying to Iraq to a Navy Divisional detainee batallion, where he'll guard prisoners.

"It's hard to be excited about it. but since I've found out I haven't been thinking about the negatives," said Sgt. Stanley. "All the negative things that could happen or that I'm going to miss out on."

"It's affected us all in different ways and for him to be affected enough to where he joined the Reserves speaks volumes of his character," said Greg Brown.

For students, Officer Stanley isn't just their protector in uniform. He's their friend.

"Officer Stanley, he's real good man. He helps everybody and makes sure you're doing the right thing," said Trevor Moon. "He's a real brave man for doing that and sacrificing himself for us."

"He's just very close and he's grown almost as a family member," said Eric Applegate, a junior.

"Most of these students only see law enforcement in a negative light,"  Sgt. Stanley. "I want to show them the good side." On his last day, Officer Stanley received a gift and a big farewell that he will carry in his heart, as he goes from protecting local students to protecting our country.

"I'm taking them with me just like I hope they take a little bit of me with them," said Sgt. Stanley.

Sgt. Stanley is first going to Fort Bliss for three months of training, then in March he will deploy with four hundred other soldiers to Iraq. He'll be gone for fourteen months to two years.

LaKecia Shockley, reporting. lshockley@kltv.com

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