CHAMPAIGN-The military gave him a chance to turn his life around now a teacher is doing the same thing for his students.
Mike Williams is doing what he loves. He's helping students with special needs to develop into the best they can be.
He's doing that with lessons he learned from the military. Students at Central High School will often see Mike Williams in the hallways solving problems.
"When I was the same age as the same men and women that I teach, I didn't have much of an outlook had my share of trouble here and there with authority," says Williams.
However now he's the one in charge. Helping special needs students keep their cool and have an outlook of their own. That is after the military straightened him up years ago.
"A lot of people will say they are doing it for their country and all that but as an 18 year old kid it was really just a way out," says Williams.
He used the Airforce as a way out and a way up serving almost 8 years.
"They certainly yell at you and make you behave it was a big shocker it was hard for me to sit there and listen to someone yell at me, without being able to say something to them. However when I finished, I felt like a whole new man," says Williams.
As we all know life is unpredictable and an injury ruined his plans of retiring. It has now given him a chance to pass those life lessons onto these young men and women.
"I love it. I get to make an impact everyday, there are a lot of struggles that come along with it but in the end its rewarding," says Williams.
He helps these kids develop better social skills reminding them of simple things like always tell the truth, seize the day..and choose friends wisely.
However, the most important lesson Williams says the military taught him is simple.
"Self control being able to keep your mouth shut at that moment and being able to think before you react. Because if you react at that moment bad things happen," says Williams.
Even though Williams is teaching it hasn't stopped him from learning.
He's getting a Masters in Education Administration from EIU. .