LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Steve Shinkle

Position: Sr. Aerospace Science Instructor
School: Cooper High School
School District: Abilene ISD
City, State: Abilene, TX

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Steve Shinkle's nominator wishes to remain anonymous.

Colonel Shinkle has been teaching at Cooper High School for eight years in the Jr. ROTC Department as the Senior Aerospace Science Instructor. He teaches six classes per day with about 130 students enrolled in ROTC, which is a "leadership & citizenship" program for teenagers. In addition to these classes, Colonel. Shinkle also teaches a class on the History of Aviation. He was even named "Teacher of the Year" for the second time.

Colonel Shinkle began serving his country right out of high school and retired from the USAF after 32 years of service, working mostly in Aircraft Maintenance and Logistics. After retiring as Colonel Shinkle and coming off of active duty, he made the decision to go into an entirely different role and became a teacher in Abilene ISD. He found it to be a unique challenge and an opportunity to do something different. In his words, he saw it as “his way of giving back to the community, to give young people better opportunities than he had growing up, and to share experiences with them and hopefully help them become better versions of themselves.” 

Colonel Shinkle believes school should be fun and exciting for students, and he focuses on the positive aspects of education. He enjoys coming up with different themes outside of the classroom to inspire his students and make an impact on the lives of others. He has created “Thank You Thursday,” where he challenges his students to say thank you to at least two people each class period to try and make another person's day better. Colonel Shinkle stands in the hallways in between classes handing out hand gel under the auspices of staying alert to flu season and germs. He takes advantage of these opportunities to connect with students, build a rapport and offer a kind word.  

Colonel Shinkle invites all students to participate in activities and enjoys embracing those with special needs in his classes. He has taught his students to lead their competitive teams and perform basic military drills that teach confidence, pride, and discipline. He supports many extracurricular outside of school, including Mock Armed and Unarmed Regulation Teams, Drill Team, Color Guard, athletic events, Saber Team and more.  

In a recent interview in the Abilene Reporter News, Colonel Shinkle's nomination for Abilene ISD "Teacher of the Year" was highlighted.

"It’s a blessing to be able to be a teacher," Shinkle said. "I really enjoy the interaction with the students, watching them grow and develop while watching them take on the challenge of becoming leaders while demonstrating leadership for them. I like watching them smile when they’ve done something well, and I like working with them when they haven’t done something well. There’s a lot of learning involved when things don’t go exactly as we want them to go. They’re the future of our country and our communities so we have an awesome task of getting them ready to go do these types of things.”  

This year, Colonel Shinkle was named Abilene ISD's Teacher of the Year while privately battling cancer; looking at his students and family as inspiration.

"He is active in his church and in his community, and he is a dedicated husband, son, father of two and grandfather of one," the nominator said. "He is an inspiration to his students, his family, his community, and his country. Steve’s greatest pleasure is impacting lives in positive ways, and I’m proud to nominate him for this prestigious recognition. He is kind and golden-hearted, and he consistently changes lives for the better with purposeful, humble, and conscious regard."

"One need not look further than the admiration and respect in his students’s eyes when speaking of their teacher, the returning students who visit, write, or call him after graduating to thank him and tell him how he’s touched their lives, or in the eyes of his own children and hearts of his fellow colleagues who nominated him for Teacher of the Year," the nominator said.



Comments (46)


Denise D Bush Posted over a year ago

I would like to wholeheartedly recommend Steve Shinkle as this years "LifeChanger" Award Winner! I'm proud to call the Shinkle's Friends for almost 20 years. I worked as his assistant during his active duty career and have remained good friends. Colonel (Retired) Shinkle was truly born to be a "Life Changer" and he married another "Life Changer" his beautiful wife Caela. He has touched so many lives, his service to our nation was truly stellar and the number of Airmen's lives he made a difference in was amazing. I worked as his assistant, he made it a point to acknowledge every Airmen's birthday with a card and 1-Day Pass, for his Airmen's promotions he would send the parents of each promotee a personal letter telling them of the event and including pictures for them to keep. I witnessed first hand how these small actions made huge differences to many people! Making everyone feel important, those simple acts were life-changing for some struggling young Airmen and made the difference in their success. His service to the youth in our community through AFJROTC at school and church--is unmatched. I've seen first hand several of his HS graduate students succeed in college and now succeeding in full time careers. He has an amazing gift to make everyone he comes in contact with feel important, worthy, respected, appreciated, and most importantly loved! There is no one better suited than Col Steve Shinkle for this year's "LifeChanger of the Year Award"!

Lisa Posted over a year ago

Col Shinkle has been a good friend and mentor since I’ve known him from Barksdale AFB. His family and work ethics were and inspiration to me and hundreds of families at Barksdale. We were fortunate to follow him to Abilene. While there my kids were able to learn those values from him at Cooper HS. I consider Col Shinkle our families life long friend.

Christina Lacey Posted over a year ago

Col Shinkle is an inspiration to everyone he meets. He goes above and beyond for all his students and other teachers. He is what every teacher should be.

Luke Shinkle Posted over a year ago

This award almost seems like it is coming too late, my life was changed 20 years ago when Steve Shinkle became my Father. Throughout my life I have been a sheep guided by one of the greatest shepherds God could have blessed me with. After fighting for his country and fighting cancer he has shown just what strength means. Words cannot hold a flame to how just a few minutes with this man can show you the light at the end of the tunnel. I have learned all of my integrity and humor from him. Thank you for being the best Dad I could ever ask for. Colonel Steven Shinkle will always have my Salute.

Todd Duquette Posted over a year ago

Among a few others on a short list, Col Steve Shinkle has had a lasting impact on mine and the lives of many others. Col Shinkle was the SASI for AFJROTC throughout the 3 years I participated in the program (graduated Spring 2013), and still considered a mentor of mine to this day. I attribute my professional development into an Air Force Officer and personal leadership characteristics to be derived highly in part to Col Shinkle’s teachings. Regardless of the situation, Col has always been able to find the silver lining and turn it into a leadership lesson. I was headed down a different, less desireable path when I first entered high school and Col Shinkle was a huge part of the paradigm shift that lead me to the person I am today. Col Shinkle has my full support in the nomination for this award, and stating that he is deserving of this distinction would be an understatement. Thank you for your time!

Paul Washinsky Posted over a year ago

I have had the pleasure of knowing Colonel Steve Shinkle since the early 1990s. Our active duty Air Force paths started at Castle AFB, CA and continued at Dyess AFB, Texas. Steve and I worked side-by-side at Dyess AFB, Texas with Steve as the 28th Bomb Squadron Maintenance Supervisor (my supervisor) and myself as the Maintenance Superintendent. Our relationship continued outside of the Air Force religiously, socially, and in a true and heartfelt friendship. Additionally, our careers continued to merge after Air Force Retirement as Air Force Junior ROTC instructors at cross town schools in Abilene Texas. Subsequently, I know Steve from all aspects of life. As I reflect on Steve in his current capacity, I am reminded of the old Chinese proverb in a paraphrase form: Give a student a skill for the day and he is okay for a day: but teach a student "life skills" and he has the skills for the rest of his life. Steve teaches life skills on a daily basis. Steve more than anyone I know, always and I mean always, has the ability to turn even the most tense, chaotic, emotion packed situation into a teachable moment and turn the event into a resolved situation. I have been witness it in my Air Force time with Steve and most recently during my time as an AFJROTC instructor and as a Substitute teacher working along side Steve the past few years. I have seen many AFJROTC programs all over the country and I would place Colonel Steve Shinkle's Cooper High School Program in the top 5 % in the country out of 850 schools. His students absolutely love and respect him. Steve is the most Principled Center Leader I have ever know. His students wholeheartedly know they can talk to him with their life problems: HE LiSTENS. His job is not his career, but he is on a "mission". Yes a mission, to make young men and women, Better Citizens for American. Students want to be in and around Steve, he emanates positive energy, is pleasant, upbeat and optimistic. With Steve as their mentor, they DREAM, HOPE, and BELIEVE. Steve Shinkle is most rewarding to be selected as the LifeChanger of the Year!!

Ruby Hoffmann Posted over a year ago

He is an incredible human being. As his fitness coach I have watched him progress from barely stepping on a step to jump on to it. It’s a huge accomplishment when you can’t feel your feet. He’s physically grown stronger and better. No matter what level he was at , always smiling and doing his best. His illness was never a factor. His relationship with God shined thru . So happy to be a tiny part of his physical success. He is an amazing human being helping and inspiring everyone around him.

Nicholas Pittman Posted over a year ago

Outside of my own parents, I would consoder Col. Shinkle to be one of the strongest, and most positive influences on my life. When I was a teenager, he showed so many of us what it meant to be a man ground in faith, and how to approach every situation calmly and confidently. Col. Shinkle has always welcomed me as family, and I will always consider him that.

Don Pittman Posted over a year ago

Steve is a “text book example” of someone who lives his life as a servant leader. He has been a faithful friend to many and has inspired all of us who know him with his quiet strength and devotion to his students and his family. Steve has made a powerful impact on our family and especially our son, who has accompanied the Shenkel’s on many family trips and vacations over the years. His courage and positive attitude was most evident recently as he fought cancer with a level of dignity and strength that few men possess. He is an outstanding role model for both students and parents alike.

RuthAnn Posted over a year ago

Steve Shinkle is an incredible friend, father and husband. He is an inspiration to both the students and adults he works with by approaching each day or challenge with strength, warmth and positivity. He gives of himself freely and demonstrates to his students every day that true leadership is grounded in service to others.

Mike Posted over a year ago

Col Shinkle is an exceptional example of a father, husband, teacher, and overall man. He is someone who touches the heart of everyone he meets and inspires one to be the best.

Melinda Rausch Posted over a year ago

Col. Shinkle has had an incredibly positive impact on Cooper High School. He is most certainly a gifted and innovative leader, but his greatest gift is his kind heart. How fortunate we are to have him as a role model for our students!

Nora Campbell Posted over a year ago

I have experienced first hand the knowledge, love, and hope Steve Shinkle gives to everyone he encounters. He is, and continues to be a blessing to our students and school, as he touches the lives of many. He is indeed a "Life Changer" and we are so proud and honored to work along side of you!

Brenda Thomson Posted over a year ago

Col.Shinkle goes out of his way to be supportive and helpful to all the students. His kind yet firm way of communicating, brings positive results, even from the most challenging students.

Kelly Posted over a year ago

Steve Shinkle is not only an asset to his school district, but to the community as well. His guidance, caring, and love for his students have left an impact on them that will last them a lifetime.

Jennifer Seekins Posted over a year ago

My first encounter with Col. Shinkle occurred on a bike ride in Buffalo Gap, Texas. He happened upon me, a newbie to the biking community, and rode with me for several miles of the Tour de Gap. He was sincere in his encouragement and a wonderful biking companion that day. Little did I realize that five year later, he would continue to be a source of encouragement to me and my counseling colleagues at Cooper High School. He makes visits to our office not only to check in on us, but to offer support to students and counselors. He is always willing to help when called upon, and I've never heard him complain. It is truly and honor to work alongside someone who continues to be positive and sincere with students and teacher. I am so thankful that I met him on that bike ride 5 years ago and that I have the privilege of working alongside him at Cooper. He is an inspiration to me to always be positive and thankful no matter the circumstance.

Kathie Springfield Posted over a year ago

I've been blessed to teach on the same campus as Col. Steve Shinkle for the past 8 years. Many of my students have gone through his program and I'm always amazed at how much he cares for them outside of his class. Some of my students are ones who struggle with behavior issues and I've watched the difference in their life he has made over the years they are in his program. Col. Shinkle is incredibly supportive of my special education students who are participating in his program. He will check up on them concerning their grades and attitude in other classes and is always willing to help us when we need some support from him with a student. The amount of time and energy this man devotes to his students and program are commendable and I hope he receives this recognition.

Ron Deos Posted over a year ago

I am personally an "expert witness" on the "life-changing" abilities possessed by Steve Shinkle. You see, I get to work with him each day at Cooper High School in the Air Force Junior ROTC program as his co-worker. Steve leads and mentors the cadets in our program and students at Cooper High School in a way that is unparalleled by any other teacher, administrator or staff member. He is always the same...I mean always! He never has a bad day; and he tells me, "look what we get to do...how could anyone have a bad day doing this?" He shows up each day with this energy, of course the kids are going to gravitate to him. Do you know what else Steve does? He always, and I mean always, corrects the students when they do something wrong. Do you remember those types of teachers? We used to say they were "mean" or "they don't care" or "they don't know what it's like to be a kid." These students, they love him for it; for holding them accountable, for helping them see their mistakes don't define them unless they let them, and for helping them become better versions of themselves. I have seen first-hand some of the "toughest" kids from the most daunting of personal situations...the most defiant students on our campus, respond in a positive manner to Steve. Why? Not because he's soft, but because he's tough. Tough because he wants the best for them and will not rest until they want the same for themselves. Steve makes no effort to get the kids to like him, but they do...they love him. How does this work? Steve also is their biggest supporter and cheerleader. He lauds their successes and celebrates their victories. Every student, not just JROTC cadets, knows "the Colonel." He's a positive influence on the entire campus. I've seen principals, counselors, head coaches, other program sponsors, teachers and staff alike go to him for advice and counsel. Steve does not seek adulation for anything he does. He is the epitome of selflessness. I'm telling you, I hear it everyday. He says, "Ron, don't put my name in for that," or "don't tell anyone about that award," or "don't let anyone know I'm having a tough time right now." He only wants what's best for others. It's not normal. Sometimes I ask myself, "how can somebody care that much." Of course it is this approach to life that so unwittingly brings upon him the recognition he works so hard to avoid. Devoted family man, devout in his faith, loving and caring to all those around him. Maybe he's not so tough. Just maybe his shining example is hard to hold ourselves up to, and the "tough" thing is getting there ourselves. Not only have I witnessed the "life-changing" effects this man has had in others’ lives, I've experienced it myself. Some people have a "devil" on one shoulder and an "angel" on the other whispering into their ears. I have a "devil" and a "Colonel" on mine! He's my friend, guide, counselor, boss, sounding board, supporter, confidant and he has literally changed my life in many ways. Because of this I can unabashedly say, it would be an injustice to not select Steve Shinkle as the LifeChanger of the Year!!!

Nicholas Robitille Posted over a year ago

Colonel Shinkle is a father figure to every cadet in R.O.T.C. He teaches us the value of hard work, trust, and teamwork. I can honestly say that I would not be the man I am today without him.

Nicholas Robitille Posted over a year ago

He taught me how to become the best me that I can be. I would not be the man I am today without his teachings. Everyone in the corps feels like he is a father figure. I believe I can succeed because of the values he has helped instill in me.

Alicia Dora Posted over a year ago

Growing up a military dependent, I struggled with transferring from one school to the other. Having to leave behind friends, family, and everything I established on multiple occasions was no easy task, but it’s people like Colonel Shinkle who really gave me that extra push to maximize my full potential. I first moved to Abilene, Texas when I was a junior in high school. When arriving to Cooper HS, I was intimidated that most extracurricular activities already established their teams/leadership roles. I was going to school with people who had known one another since elementary school... I felt like the outcast. Colonel Shinkle has this amazing ability to make you want to prove yourself wrong. He sees potential in students that they may not see themselves and mentors them to success. I began an intimidated student and ended my senior year as the corps commander of the entire AFJROTC detachment. The life values that I learned from Colonel Shinkle and Cooper AFJROTC truly molded me into the woman that I am today. In my professional career, I’m now motivated to pay-it-forward. I take lessons learned from Colonel Shinkle and mentor those in my workplace, developing the next generation of strong leaders. I owe so much to him and his leadership.

Kathy Posted over a year ago

We need more teachers in our community like Colonel Shinkle! He enjoys what he does and makes his kids his priority. I"m so thankful he's a part of AISD and the JrROTC program!

Ann Hurst Posted over a year ago

Steve is an amazing leader and mentor to countless people. He makes a positive impression on everyone he meets. He's authentic, fun, and hard-working.

Ron Hunter Posted over a year ago

I cannot think of a more honorable and deserving candidate for this prestigious honor. Having served in the active duty Air Force together and witnessing first hand the tremendous positive influence he has on his students, specifically my grand daughter, he is absolutely deserving of this honor.

Rocky Negron Posted over a year ago

Colonel Shinkle is one of the greatest teachers i have the privilege to have for three years of my AFJROTC class. He greets his cadets with smile everyday and inspires students to be the best in everything they do. This year i have the honor to lead the Core along side Colonel Shinkle and Sergeant Deos and see the amazing work the both them do for the core and beyond, and extending throughout Texas Abilene independent district reaching both teacher and students.

James Fetsch Posted over a year ago

Col Shinkle was probably one of the nost kind hearted best teachers i remember from high school he never once gave up on anybody no matter the circumstances i know i wouldn't be where i am without his help and guidance in AFJROTC

Dennis G O'Connell Posted over a year ago

I know Steve to be a God-loving man, wonderful husband, father and grandfather. In addition to that, he is an American hero having served as a Colonel in the United States Air Force. More recently, he has been serving as the Senior Aerospace Instructor at a local high school. In that role he has been a positive, life-changing force for his students. He has been a true inspiration to them and to us as he has successfully waged war on cancer. He presents himself as a calm, loving, caring dad to all of these kids, many of whom have severe family issues and who's families struggle to stay above the poverty line. Steve is always there as a warm, engaging, reassuring presence for them. Just yesterday he brought prayer requests to our Men's Spirituality Group about one of his students and her brother who were severely injured in a motor vehicle accident. I'm sure in the next few days he will be reaching out behind the scenes making sure that their worldly and spiritual needs are met as they heal. Steve is very quiet in his helping of others. He just does it. What a great family man and great citizen. He has my highest recommendation for Life Changer of the Year! God Bless you Steve in all that you do!

Emily Bardin Posted over a year ago

I have the privilege of cleaning Steve’s teeth at Dr Gary Linn’s office And making that smile even more beautiful! He has the kind of smile that will light up a room. He always has a positive attitude even during tough times like when he was battling cancer. Steve cares about others and puts others first which is such a great example to all of us. I feel so blessed to call him not only one of my favorite patients but also a dear friend. I can not think of anyone more deserving for this award. He is a true exaplme of integrity and has a heart of gold. If only more people could be just a little like Steve than this world would be a better place!!

Melinda Posted over a year ago

Steve is truly an amazing man. He is making a huge difference in the lives of the students he teaches. He encompasses all the things educators strive to be daily. Even through his health issues, Steve has stayed positive and uplifting to all around him.

Phyllis Ricker Posted over a year ago

Colonel Shinkle, I am thankful to share a profession with a colleague of such an impressive bio. Thank you for giving back to your community in so many wonderful ways. I support and would love to see you awarded the Life Changer of the Year. Your story inspires me!

Meghan Hansen Posted over a year ago

Retired military veteran, teacher, father, husband, grandfather,cancer survivor, friend. These are just a few words to describe Steve Shinkle. Kind hearted, soft spoken and always looking for ways to help others. There is no doubt in my mind that Steve Shinkle is indeed a lifechanger.

Sylvia Martinez Posted over a year ago

With everything you have gone through in your own life you still work with the ROTC program and give it your all! Not sure if I could have done that! You are awesome!

Jennifer Greenough Posted over a year ago

Mr. Shinkle is a role model for all who come in contact with him. To serve your country for as long as he did and then to continue to serve your country by becoming a teacher. He should be honored for his continued service.

Gail Gregg Posted over a year ago

Steve Shinkle is one of the most positive individuals that I have ever worked with in my 38 1/2 years in public education. His personality encourages students and staff alike. His influence goes beyond the Cooper campus and extends throughout our district of 19,000 students and employees. He has changed multiple lives, including mine as his supervisor!

Karen Light Posted over a year ago

I'm so proud that my friend, Steve Shinkle, is being nominated for the Lifechanger of the Year, a well-deserved honor! Steve is an amazingly positive, wonderful person to represent Abilene ISD and the Big Country! I admire Steve for his never-ending, positive approach to life which was epitomized during his recent successful battle with cancer. You are a Rock, Steve!

Joe LeBlanc Posted over a year ago

Great guy sets the example of courage and patriotism. His attitude dealing with the special challenges he has faced exemplifies that which we all should have. He keeps and resembles his faith.

Heather Collier Posted over a year ago

When I was at Cooper High School coaching a softball game I meet Steve for the first time. I knew his wife, Caela, as we coached at the same neighboring HS. He was so welcoming and sweet. As we talked it was like we knew each other for years!! It was obvious as he spoke about his students, colleagues, and program that he was beaming with pride and passion. Steve battling health issues still amazed all around him. Caela would always discuss his strength and dedication. So thankful that Cooper High School and ROTC has a man like Steve leading young people and just taking care of kids!!

Dick Spiegel Posted over a year ago

Steve is a outstanding person . We are in the same Men's group at Holy Family he has been a example to follow with his illness tough act to follow he is a GREAT leader proud to have him in my Life.

Mike Lunney Posted over a year ago

I have had the pleasure of knowing Steve for many years. I have seen him in action at Cooper High School when I subbed on that campus. More importantly I knew him as an amazing band parent during my full time teaching years. Steve is an incredible man of integrity. He works extremely hard at his mission. His self appointed mission is to provide an environment for his students to grow intellectually and as citizens through hard work and teamwork. He is very student centered. I truly believe that that is what makes him special to his community and creates amazing bonds with his students. This is the hard fought method of being able to change the lives of students in a positive way. He certainly deserves to be honored, but all that know him realize that he would simply deflect the honor by giving credit to his students. That is what makes a life changing person. They accept the any blame for what goes wrong, yet the give all the credit for what goes right to their students. It is without any reservations that I give my full recommendation for Colonel Shinkle in regards to this prestigious honor. Mike Lunney

frank Della Posted over a year ago

I am writing on behalf of Steve Shinkle, Steve is a member of our men's group and we attend the same church. In the time Ii have known Steve, can attest to his commitment to his students and character building which is a priority, Steve not teaches leadership and success principles, he exhibits those characteristics in his demeanor and his conduct. Students exposed to Steve's instruction and example will have a head-start on leadership and success with humility. Steve shenkle is worthy to be named "Life Changer of the year."

Larry Gill Posted over a year ago

Steve is one of those unique individuals whose outlook on life only goes in one direction...a purely positive charge no matter the circumstances. And in his case the "circumstance" that affected him was his battle with cancer. I think most of us, when diagnosed as he was, would react in a less then positive way at the outset. Not Steve. He knew the odds from the start but having served his country in war and peace, he figured this was just one more battle to take on and win...and he did. Actually, most people would never have know the war he was fighting until he showed up at church losing his hair....and smiling about it. I cannot help but believe the attitude he had throughout the treatment period said to his students that you take what you've been given and make the most of it. He actually set an example for all of us, ill or not. Be positive and believe in your faith, family and friends, and you can make it. Steve is well deserving of this award, but no matter what, he will still be the same, win, lose or draw! And for that we can all be thankful.

Emily Posted over a year ago

Steve Shinkle was my instructor in high school and cintura to be an amazing mentor in my life after. He’d always caring, and he’s always there to listen. I can’t count how many times he’s sat and listened to me talk and has helped guide me towards my answers. He’s a dear friend and an amazing mentor. He always makes me smile and he deserves to be Life Changer if the Year

Bill Fahey Posted over a year ago

Steve and I go to the same church. He participates in a Men’s Spirituality Group that I’m priviledged to lead. Steve brings not only a deep faith to the group, but also an amazing life experience of service to his country and his students. He shares this as appropriate to enrich the experience for the members of the group. We watched in awe as Steve fought a serious medical condition with strength and an ever-present smile on his face. He won the fight and inspired many in the process. I know many of Steve’s colleagues at Cooper High School who consider him at the top of his profession. He has taught students how to be successful military leaders primarily by his example. I served as an officer in the military. I would have been proud to serve with Steve and fortunate to command any of his students. Steve Shinkle positively changes lives every day and deserves to be “Life Changer of the Year”.

Fred Novak Posted over a year ago

Steve is a member of our Men's Spirituality Group at our church. He is very passionate and enthusiastic about his faith and is willing to share his enthusiasm with others. During a difficult medical diagnosis, he remained positive and strong, and was a great inspiration to the other men in our group as he went through the healing process. He is very proud and passionate about his students and always goes out of his way to help them and insure their success as they transition from Cooper High School and eventually into a military career. As a former military officer with a similar background as Steve, I would be proud to have any of his ROTC students under my command.

Colonel Al Dunlap Posted over a year ago

I have had the distinct pleasure and honor of knowing Steve Shinkle for 22 plus years as a colleague, fellow church member, and friend. Throughout those years and in each of those settings he continually demonstrated compassion, understanding, and love for one and all with his defining goal of improving the lives of those around him. During his 30 plus years in the military, he was noted for his firm yet compassionate leadership, professional excellence, and unwavering dedication to his country and fellow airmen. Superiors, peers, and subordinates alike respected and admired him for his fairness and devotion to improving lives of those who worked with him. During his career, he received numerous awards and several citations recognizing his stalwart accomplishments which exemplified the Air Force core values of “Integrity First, Excellence in All We Do, and Service Before Self. That same dedication and attitude is also present in his current duties as Senior Aerospace Science Instructor for the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) program at Cooper High School where he has positively influenced the lives of over 1500 cadets and an untold number of other students. His credo of “making each student and their life better one day at a time” is the standard he holds himself to each day. His perpetual smile, warm greeting, and upbeat attitude is infectious and often the only bright spot in many of his students’ day. In numerous conversations with his students, they have unabashedly praised Steve for helping them over one negative hurdle or another and enabling them to become the productive person they are today. It is no accident that he was twice chosen as the high school “Teacher of the Year” in the Abilene Independent School District (AISD) or that his JROTC unit has been recognized as a “Distinguished Unit”. Not content with just making a positive impact on his students, Steve has served on several AISD and school committees focused on improving the school or district’s ability to provide a safe, productive and positive environment for educating its students. I have also witnessed Steve as he interacted with fellow parish members at our church. As a member of the Men’s Fellowship Group, he mentored younger men on how to be loving and caring fathers and husbands. He also taught Sunday school to young teens. His life style and actions serve as a positive role model for all the men of the parish. Lastly, my 20 plus year relationship with Steve has developed into a sacred bond of brotherhood that carries over into each of our families. He is a trusted friend who I can go to for advice and counseling. I know I can always count on him to be there for my family in good times or bad. As Mother Teresa once said, “… in this life we cannot always do great things. But we can do small things great with love.” Steve Shinkle has spent a life time dedicated to doing the small things of love that have a positive impact on those around him. I highly recommend you select him as the “Life Changer of the Year” award for 2018-2019.

Robin Pritchett Posted over a year ago

Wow! I already knew that Steve Shinkle is a friendly, compassionate, generous soul, but now I realize even more what a genuine and dedicated human being he truly is. It is clear that Steve has a positive impact on everyone who is blessed enough to come into contact with him, and I believe that there is no one more deserving of the honor of Life Changer of the Year!