Many Cyprus High students knew that math teacher John Angell served in the military, but their understanding of his sacrifices was perhaps limited.
That changed during a Friday night home football game when Marine Corps officers award Angell the Purple Heart.
Angell served as infantryman, intelligence specialist, and night operation section leader for the United States Marine Corps during a 10-year stint that began in 2003. He was deployed to Iraq three times between 2004 and 2008 in the 1st Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment.
He was medically discharged in 2013 after five years of active service and five years on the Temporary Disabled Retired List due to Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) sustained in service. He has since undergone five surgeries and had an electronic device implanted in his head to control the symptoms of TBI.
Along with his day job at Cyprus, Angell promotes health services for veterans, and has appeared in videos produced by the Veterans Health Administration encouraging veterans to seek help in dealing with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
His Purple Heart award is symbolic of the work he has done to turn an injury into a strength and become a powerful force for good in the Cyprus High community.