OFTC’s Terry Hill: Perseverance Wins the Race
Terry Hill was one class away from graduating with an associate degree in Criminal Justice from Oconee Fall Line Technical College (OFTC) in Dublin when a workplace accident changed his life forever.
“I had plans to obtain my associate degree in Criminal Justice,” Hill shared. “Afterwards I was going to relocate to Savannah, so I could attend Savannah State University to further my education in law and get a job on the police force while I attended school.”
But after work one day Hill woke up in the emergency room with serious injuries to his foot. “My foot had been cut in half and my fifth toe had been partially amputated. All of a sudden my whole life was turned upside down,” he said.
In one moment, Hill felt so close to accomplishing his goals that nothing could deter his plans; but the reality of his next moment proved to be an unexpected journey that, despite the hardships, he’s thankful to have experienced.
An Unexpected Journey
After undergoing seven different surgeries to his foot, Hill came to the unwanted realization that his dreams of working in law enforcement were over. “I finally came to the realization that I could never do the job I wanted. I had a life changing accident that left me disabled and I needed to look to other avenues to provide for my family.”
While formerly serving in the United States Marine Corps, Hill was exposed to administrative duties and found that it was something he enjoyed, so he decided to look into the Business Technology program at OFTC, citing one reason he chose OFTC was “for their commitment to serve those whom had served.”
“I decided to give the business field a try since I no longer have the ability to get around like I used to,” Hill said. “I felt as though it would allow me to still provide for my family and be able to have a fulfilling life as well.”
An Unexpected Blessing
After his career goals changed, Hill was given a new perspective on life, one that helped him recognize his blessings. “I’ve been able to open up about my situation and I’ve had a lot of help and support from my teachers,” he shared. “Beth Duggins, my instructor, and Lydia Barfoot, OFTC’s disabilities specialist have both introduced me to so many different people and programs at OFTC that are in place for these situations, which before I spoke out to them about my experience, I wasn’t aware of.”
If not for his faith and the support of his community, Hill isn’t sure his outlook would be so positive. “I just want to give all credit to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,” he said, “because without Him putting these people in my life, none of what I’ve been able to accomplish would be possible.”
Hill mentioned his fiancé, Natoya Edwards and a host of others who’ve gone above and beyond to meet the needs of his family during this time and said that “these people in my life are the cause of my perseverance.”
Throughout his time at OFTC Hill says he’s learned a lot, not just about criminal justice or business, but about himself. “I’ve learned that you must be open minded and flexible when you choose your major because it’s not guaranteed that you will stay with that same major throughout your entire studies,” he said.
“Random things happen all the time and you must understand that just because you made plans doesn’t mean that those plans will go as you hoped,” he added.
Hill is scheduled to graduate from OFTC’s Business Technology program in the spring of 2019 and hopes to start a career as an administrative clerk at a legal or medical facility.
Expressing thanks for his time at OFTC and the lesson’s he’s learned while here, Hill recognizes that his timing at OFTC, though not the way he planned, was perfect. “OFTC is a great institution which puts the success of the students above everything,” he said. “They don’t just give you the tools to be successful in your field, they produce great people.”
Hoping others will see his lifestyle of perseverance, Hill wants others to know “there are still good people in life and when you feel like you have given all you’ve got, give a little more,” he said. “Not all plans go as we hope so don’t think of yourself as a failure if you must alter those plans.”