RENO, NV (KOLO) Captain Nigel Harrison of the Nevada Army Guard is truly a jack of all trades, balancing a family of nine, teaching, pursuing his master's degree and preparing to lead about 25 soldiers to Afghanistan this summer.
"Being their leader, it comes with a lot more than just leading troops. You know, in their eyes, I'm just the guy that stands in front of them and tells them what we're going to do for the day, and I think about their well-being and not just their well-being, but their families, you know, they're trusting me to take care of their soldiers," Harrison says.
Harrison began his career in the U.S. Navy and exited from that branch of the military in 2005. Years later he joined the Nevada Army Guard. In 2012 he graduated from flight school and now flies the Army's UH 60L Black Hawk helicopter.
Additionally, he teaches construction technology at Western Nevada College. He says he is passionate about teaching and with construction, his students get to create and work with their hands every day.
Harrison and his wife Alyssa are raising their seven children together in Carson City. They say keeping family first is how they make all of this work.
"All of that becomes this family culture and we just hope that those are things that they will value through their whole lives, and hopefully they'll have that same culture with their own families later on," Alyssa, his wife, says.
Harrison says by doing that he hopes to lead his soldiers by the same example he is setting for his children.
"It's what right looks like, being able to impress that on the other soldiers is another thing that motivates me because you're changing perspective and their lives," he says.
Sergeant Cody Clifford has been under Harrison's command for three years.
"He's a great commander and an awesome leader; I couldn't imagine being under anyone else," Clifford says.
As the time for deployment draws near, the Harrisons say once this countdown is over, the countdown for his return begins.
"We miss him terribly while he's gone but we anticipate the homecoming every day," Alyssa says.
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