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Home : News
NEWS | March 30, 2007

Citizen-Soldier molds future

By Spc. LeRoy F. Rowser 196th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

BARBERTON, Ohio - he hallways of Barberton High School bustled with activity as students hurried to get to class on time. As the bell rang, students in one classroom settled into their seats to face a smiling, clean-shaven teacher with a fresh, "high and tight" military-style hair cut.

Staff Sgt. Henry D. Muren, a cavalry scout with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 145th Armored Regiment, was poised to begin class. A native of Barberton, Muren graduated from Barberton High School in 1989. He has taught mathematics in the district since 1998, and is a 15-year veteran of the Ohio Army National Guard.

Muren and his wife both have strong roots in the Barberton community, where they reside with their three children. Their parents also still live in the area, and Muren said he enjoys the history his family has there and he also enjoys teaching children that grew up his hometown.

"I like the kids here. I can relate to them. For many of them, they are growing up the same way I did. They're growing up on the same streets I did. It's not a totally rough area. We have our good times and our bad times here," he said.

Muren's family has a rich history of educational and military service; his father served in the Army, his father-in-law served in the National Guard and five of his wife's brothers have served in the military. His mother was a teacher and an uncle taught at the Naval Academy.

Since 2001, Muren has deployed twice in support of the Global War on Terrorism. His first deployment, from October 2001 through September 2002, was spent with a security force at Camp Perry, a National Guard training site near Port Clinton, Ohio. He deployed again from October 2003 through January 2005 to Southwest Asia in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

He said he enjoys serving his country and testing himself as well as the camaraderie that comes with the job.

"Being a scout is the greatest thing in the world. We pride ourselves on being out front, being the best, and going above and beyond the standard," Muren said. "We are the 'Damn Scouts' you always hear about. That's us. We are a very close group."

Muren said his desire to help others and serve his community were the main reasons he decided to become a teacher. He has developed an approach to teaching that might initially appear uncharacteristic of a Soldier. "I'm laid back. I like to joke around and have a good time in the classroom," he said. "I'm not always serious. There is a time for joking and there is a time to get to work and get through a lesson, or a topic."

The Soldier-teacher tries to balance fun and discipline in both roles, and said his students and his Soldiers know when it's time to get down to business. He uses the lessons learned in one role to augment the other. And the leadership experience and people skills learned in both roles have been particularly beneficial.

"There is a lot of guiding in both situations. You look at the young Soldiers coming into your platoon and you are constantly guiding them, instructing them," he said. "Not just teaching them how to do a task, but how to be a good person. Here's how to build a good moral character. Teaching is the same way. I hold my students accountable for their own education. I'm here for the kids. I stay after school to let them know I'm here for them."

Muren has earned many awards as a Soldier and as a teacher. His military awards include the Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal and Ohio Commendation Medal. His civilian honors include the Sam's Club/Wal-Mart Teacher of the Year award, and a nomination for the Martha Holding Jennings Award.

His advice for future Soldiers and teachers is simple and straightforward.

"Make sure it's what you want to do. Neither job is easy," he said. "Really think about it. You don't go into either job for the pay. Both jobs entail a serious commitment."