Hometown Hero pays it forward

Published 08/31 2012 04:12PM

Updated 08/31 2012 05:38PM

PARIS -- Our Town has had its share of military history. The 1544th Transportation Company is a staple here.

This week, we met one of the men who keeps it running. WCIA-3's Amanda Porterfield introduces us to this week's Hometown Hero, Joey Tibbs.

"Just learn as you go if you make a mistake, you gotta correct it and improvise. It's something the military teaches you."

During his 10-years in the army, Joey Tibbs has learned a lot.

"The military has taught me a lot of discipline, how to be a better person. They've taught me how to mentor."

Tibbs is a sergeant with the 1544th. He spent three years in Iraq. His job was to make sure the tanks our soldiers drive are safe.

"I'm in a lead mechanic spot right now for maintenance. My job is pretty much to shadow the lower enlisted and show them what needs to be done."

Tibbs is paying it forward. When he was low man on the totem pole, someone showed him.

"He just kind of guided me under his wing. When I first walked in, he was like, 'You are green, more or less. Come here and I"ll show you the ropes.'"

But, during his climb, tragedy struck. Specialist Charles Lamb, his mentor and best friend, was killed in Iraq. One of four who didn't come home from that tour.

"It affected me pretty hard considering I was at a young age, right out of high school. It was a traumatic experience, but a learning experience. The military teaches you. They train you to fight and care for each other and camaraderie. That camaraderie is what Sergeant Tibbs says he will keep passing along, as long as he can.

"It feels really good because the lower enlisted, they look up to you and say, 'Hey, that's the type of guy I want to be.' As rough as it's been, not only for me, but for my family, I wouldn't change it for the world. I know deep, down inside, I am doing a good deed."

Sergeant Tibbs is taking college classes, studying to be a physical trainer.

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