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Daniel’s mission is to “not take no for an answer.” HCC Transition Specialist and strong advocate Rhonda Davis expressed her extreme pride for Daniel’s dedication and hard work. “He is focused and driven. I stand behind him. I believe in him. I see so much potential for his life in public service.”
Daniel Willey wants to serve his community. He wants the world to know he’s on a mission and that he’s serious. He also wants to share his story – to let others know that determination and hard work can enable one to overcome bad times, an issue with the law, and, at times, feelings of hopelessness, despair, and uncertainty.
From a young age, Daniel had wanted to live a life dedicated to public service. He aspired to join the Marines, and even joined the Young Marines program, but a leg injury ended that dream. He also worked in the mechanical, electrical and plumbing trades, learning on the job. Nothing quite clicked. But last March, he attended the funeral of Baltimore County police officer Amy Caprio, which planted a seed that his future just might include a vocation as a police officer, an ironic yet interesting mirror of his absent father’s ultimate career path.
Before he could embark on his educational aspirations to make his dreams a reality, circumstances again intervened. Poor decisions led to a serious traffic violation that Daniel deeply regretted. While his dreams now seemed further away than ever before, determination played a significant role in his eventual recovery. As he served weekend time for his offenses, Daniel enrolled in and completed all the court-ordered courses, trainings, and workshops to prove he intended to turn his life around and get the education he would need during this dark time. He completed his pre-GED work in under six months and crossed the stage at HCC’s GED graduation ceremony this past June.
Daniel was aware that his case could jeopardize his chance of becoming a police officer. To prove he was serious about making some major life changes, he enrolled in Harford’s EMT program, as well as credit courses towards an associate degree in Criminal Justice. He has made himself known at the Sheriff’s Academy offices in Edgewood Hall, again to show his sincere interest and determination that he might one day be a student there. He also was accepted by an unheard of 40-1 vote into the Joppa-Magnolia Volunteer Fire Company and is now an active member in both fire and emergency medical services roles. Daniel also does regular “ride-alongs” with the Aberdeen Police Department to get the additional street experience that will add to his resume.
Daniel keeps a record of his past nine months’ journey in a well-organized binder. In addition to his court records, there are documents showing the completion of required courses and training. It also includes his GED certificate, graduation photos, and documents that represent his dreams – entry requirements for the Sheriff’s Academy, for example -- and he’s working to add his EMT certification and evidence of passing his credit courses. It is, in essence, his past, present, and future.
Daniel’s mission is to “not take no for an answer.” Rhonda Davis, Transition Specialist at Harford, and a strong advocate for Daniel, expressed her extreme pride for his dedication and hard work. “He is focused and driven. I stand behind him. I believe in him. I see so much potential for his life in public service.”
As Daniel has said, “It’s more fun to be in the front seat of a police car instead of the back.” He has been motivated by his own successes thus far, but also the guidance he has received from his advocates, his instructors, and his family, and by the mantra “I can. I will. I have.” He has overcome so much already, and continues to persevere because he knows this is the right path for him. It feels right, and he thinks – no, he knows – he’ll be good at it. Harford is rooting for you, Daniel!
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