SACRAMENTO — Indio resident, Reginald ‘Reggie” Powell was honored Wednesday as the 56th Assembly District’s 2018 Veteran of the Year. Democratic state Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia, D-Coachella, presented Powell with the award.

After serving overseas, Powell, a United States Air Force Veteran, was still determined to be of service to others. He has dedicated more than 35 years of service to being an educator. His extensive career of public service also includes 10 years as a police officer, five years as a juvenile probation officer, four years as a member of the Coachella Valley Gang Task Force, and 10 years as a youth pastor.

“It is my distinct privilege to recognize United States Air Force Veteran, Reggie Powell as our Veteran of the Year. I highly commend his distinguished service in defense of our nation, as well as his continued contributions within our Coachella Valley community as an educator. He is the epitome of a true patriot and exemplary citizen,” Garcia said in a prepared statement.

“I can personally attest to his passion and dedication to students. Both my son and I have had the opportunity to experience Mr. Powell in the classroom,” Garcia added. “In his over three decades as an educator, he has made a tremendous impact on generations of students many of whom have now emerged as successful community leaders themselves.”

Powell holds a Sociology and Social Service Degree from Oklahoma State University, Criminal Justice and Psychology Degree from the University of Central Oklahoma, Degree in Education from California State University and a Master’s in Education and Administration from California State University.

In an effort to combat the rising crime rate, youth gang involvement, and drug addiction among our youth, Powell has been working with and speaking to groups of people about the importance of understanding students of today and helping them to rise above troubling circumstances to achieve success.

He has spoken at and organized various educational seminars and workshops across the state. He currently is employed by Desert Sands Unified School District but has previously worked with Coachella Valley Unified School District and Palm Springs Unified School District.

Powell is well respected by students and his colleagues alike. He has been recognized as one who encourages others, fosters multicultural awareness and understanding. In 1998, Reggie received the “Teacher of the Heart Award.” In 2003, Reggie was voted “Teacher of The Year,” at Lincoln Elementary School, Desert Sands School District. Two of his students have honored him in the “Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers.”

Powell

Reginald “Reggie” Powell and his wife Diane

Powell and his wife, Diane traveled to Sacramento to join honorees from across the state at the 11th Annual Veteran of the Year Luncheon and Award Ceremony. The Veteran of the Year Luncheon is sponsored in part by the American Legion, Department of California, AMVETS, Department of California, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Department of California, Vietnam Veterans of America, California State Council and the Assembly Committee on Veterans Affairs.

Garcia represents the 56th district, which comprises the cities and communities of Blythe, Brawley, Bermuda Dunes, Calexico, Calipatria, Cathedral City, Coachella, Desert Hot Springs, El Centro, Holtville, Imperial, Indio, Mecca, Oasis, North Shore, Salton Sea, Thermal, Thousand Palms, and Westmorland.