DUBLIN, Ga. — An Army veteran is being recognized for his leadership at Oconee Fall Line Technical College in Dublin. They awarded Antonio Bell the 2022 Georgia Occupational Award.
Bell made a promise to his mom that he would finish college.
"That was a big weight lifted off my shoulders, just to make her proud. I promised her that I was going to do it, and I did it," he said.
He originally attended Middle Georgia College, but only for a year before he decided to join the Army. Bell served eight years and retired as a Unit Supply Specialist in Fort Hood.
"It was teaching me the basics. To be responsible, be on time, be tentative, and all that," said Bell.
Once he returned to Dublin, he decided to give college another chance. He ended up earning his associate degree in cybersecurity and networking.
Bell says his time serving helped him to get out of his comfort zone and get involved in school activities, as well as serving on the Rotary Club to read to fifth graders.
"Being open, talking to people and being nice to people, willing to help anybody, that's just being open with my leadership skills. Being the person that my team can depend on, or my family or my friends," said Bell.
He has advice for others who want to achieve their goals.
"If you want to come to college or just do anything, don't be afraid to always ask questions. Don't be tentative and just staying creative, and building on top of what you got or what you want to do in life," said Bell.
He's currently working on his third degree in business and continues to make his mom proud. He says he plans to one day start his own IT firm.