Delaware Hayes High School’s long time aerospace science instructor and the county’s AFJROTC instructor will officially retire from the district in July, but he has plenty to do after retirement.
Retired United States Air Force Lt. Col. Floyd Anible has been at Hayes High School since 2004 and has served as the aerospace science instructor and AFJROTC coordinator the entire time. At Monday’s Delaware City Schools Board of Education meeting, the board unanimously voted to approve Anible’s retirement at the end of this school year. His last day with the district will be July 31.
Anible retired from active duty in the Air Force in 1999. He said that in the Air Force he had “been everywhere” and “done everything,” which included teaching at the University of Wisconsin and at the Air Force Institute of Technology. Anible said after a few years doing some private sector work after his retirement, he woke up to a realization.
“The morning came when I woke up and said, ‘You know, I miss the classroom and I miss the blue suit, so why don’t I look into junior ROTC,’” Anible said. “A month later, I was interviewing here at Hayes.”
Anible said Rutherford B. Hayes High School’s ROTC program is one of the original 12 junior ROTC programs and has been running for more than 50 years. Anible added he was honored to carry on that tradition.
“We are one of the 12 oldest units in an organization that numbers almost 900 units worldwide,” Anible said. “We are very proud of that.”
Anible said the best part of his job for the last 16 years has been working with the cadets in the county’s AFJROTC program.
“If I were forced to pick a favorite thing, it would be working with the finest young men and women of Delaware County,” he said. “When I was on active duty in the Air Force, I held a squadron command position in Germany, 225 extraordinary men and women, and when I look at these young men and women (from Delaware County), I say, ‘If I had a chance to have one of these on my staff, I would jump at that chance.’”
Anible added Delaware City Schools has been his favorite place to work.
“My professional life is bumping very close to 50 years,” Anible said. “I’ve been everywhere and done everything. I’ve done civilian, military, business, industry, academia, you name it, all over the world … But this organization, Delaware City Schools, is the finest organization I’ve ever been privileged to serve.”
Anible said though he’s leaving the district in July, he and his wife, Jan, will remain in Delaware, because they love the community.
“Jan and I have been all over the world,” Anible said. “We have had 24 different homes around the world, but we agree that Delaware feels more like home to us than anywhere else in the world. We are staying right here.”
Retiring is just another beginning for Anible, who said he’s going to spend his retirement with his family.
“I’ve got an enormous bucket list, and at the top of that bucket list, is my wife, Jan, my four children, and my six grandchildren,” Anible said. “They made a lot of sacrifices so I could follow my calling as an educator, and I own them a lot. It’s been 25 years since Jan and I have had anything you could call a vacation. I’ve got a lot of debts to pay.”
Anible said part of his legacy is cadets like Hayes High School junior Aidan Gatenbee, a third-year cadet in the program.
“I am counting on someone stepping into my shoes that will be even more effective, and the cadets are going to see to that,” Anible said to Gatenbee, Friday. “You guys that I leave behind will help that officer excel.”
Gatenbee said the program and Anible’s mentorship have helped shape him as a person.
“It’s done a lot to help me grow and develop,” Gatenbee said. “It feels a lot like a second family. I’ve enjoyed that companionship that I can’t find anywhere else. (Anible) is one of the best teachers I’ve ever had. He’s a great educator. He knows how different students need different treatments to learn appropriately. Outside of the classroom, he’s just a great man. The things he’s done for the corps and the community are amazing.”
Anible said he was thankful to hear Gatenbee’s feelings about the program, and he is proud to leave that kind of legacy.
“If we succeed at nothing else, we’ve succeeded in creating a family environment,” Anible said. “These cadets have the right things in their heads and the right things in their hearts, we just tease it out. They come to us with so much ability and they are so willing to sacrifice evenings and weekends to serve the community and look after each other. I’ll miss that a great deal.”
Anible said despite the unit’s presence at many community events, there’s barely enough interest from students to keep the program alive, and he hopes the program grows in the future.
“We talk about the great publicity and visibility, and yet, we struggle every year to maintain the minimum enrollment required by the Air Force to remain active,” Anible said. “There seems to be a great deal of misconceptions about us. We are not just for students interested in military service. We are chartered by Congress to be a character and citizenship development program and that’s what we do. Only 15% of cadets actually choose to enter into the armed forces. The things they learned in this program helped them to succeed in civilian careers and in college.”
Anible thanked retired Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Douglas Manley for his help with the program, adding he’s going to miss working with the people at Hayes.
“I’ll miss the camaraderie and collegiality,” Anible said. “I’ll miss Ric Stranges. I miss Paul Craft, and I will miss Heidi Kegley. They are some of the greatest bosses I’ve ever had in my life. The warmth of the people, the dedication and professionalism of my colleagues has been so rewarding.”
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.