BROOKFIELD, Ohio (WYTV) – Steve Sambroak is a hero to the students he teaches at a local middle school, he’s a hero for serving our country and now he’s a 33 WYTV Hometown Hero.
Steve has been a teacher at the Brookfield School District for the past four years and an Army helicopter pilot for the past 19 years.
In the middle of last school year, he was unexpectedly deployed to Afghanistan for 12 months. Before leaving, he helped make the substitute teacher’s transition seamless and the school did its part to help Mr. Sambroak.
“Preparation-wise, the school district has been great. They did everything that they needed to do to help me out the best that they could,” Steve said.
Superintendent Velina Jo Taylor said Steve was more than qualified when they hired him, but being a veteran definitely gave him something extra.
“We hired him because we thought he would be a great role model for our students,” Taylor said. “He’s great in leading the kids and showing them the things that we want them to learn — respect, hard work, dedication to country, fulfilling tasks in an efficient way. All those kinds of things that we really want our kids to learn beyond academic learning.”
Principal Tony Gibson said Steve’s had an impact.
“You see a little bit of a change in students, in how they carry themselves and how they interact with you,” he said. “[Stand up] a little straighter, shoulders back — a little different.”
Mr. Sambroak’s students didn’t even know he was in the Army until he had to go away. When they found out, they treated him like a hero.
“For Veterans Day, they had a whole Veteran’s Day presentation put on by the fifth and sixth grade, and it was great,” Steve said. “The teachers were awesome, the kids wrote letters, had a small party at the end of the day. I still have all the letters saved up. It was awesome.”
“I think it gave him a chance to get to know the students individually because they wrote and read the letters to him,” Tony said. “It was a great scenario. We appreciate everything he’s done, not only for us as a district, but also for our country.”
Still, Steve said he was very surprised to receive the Hometown Hero award.
“I don’t feel like I deserve it. I’m just doing my job,” he said. “We know what we’re getting into, signing on that dotted line. For me personally, I didn’t do anything over-the-top. Just doing my job.”