COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL)— Honor the sacrifice, inspire the future. That’s the mission of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society’s Character Development Program that brought Capt. (Ret.) Gary Rose, recipient of our nation’s highest military award, to Hardaway High School Monday morning.

The Medal of Honor was awarded to Capt. Rose in 2017. Rose received the Medal of Honor for risking his life on numerous occasions during combat operations, while serving as a medic with the 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne) in Operation Tailspin. The operation lasted four days from Sept. 11 to Sept. 14, of 1970. His unit was engaged with a much larger force deep in enemy-controlled territory, then-Sergeant Rose repeatedly ran into the line of enemy fire to render medical aid to his comrades. At one point Rose used his own body to shield a wounded soldier. Now, Capt. Rose continues to serve his country by volunteering to speak at schools in the southeast region where he is working to teach them one message.

“Through your life, the important thing is having a good character. The idea is the right thing to do is the right thing to do, regardless of the consequences to you personally. Because it’s the right thing to do. That’s character,” Capt. Rose said.

Capt. Rose advised both Hardaway High School and Richards Middle School students to be kind, motivated, and confident. He believes education is key the key to success, and hopes his story inspires students to continue to dig into our nation’s history and take ownership of their future.

“[It was] just striking at the end, all of the students wanted to shake his hand as to kind of thank him,” Richards Middle School IB English teacher Andrew McCarthy said. “So, I knew immediately that they, too, were moved by his message and they could sense his ethos and credibility. I think they really gravitated to his message and understanding it’s not just their teacher, or their principal, or their mom or dad. This is someone that has seen it all. So, to learn from him, I think that means a lot.”

The Medal of Honor recognizes obvious gallantry and valor that risks your life for others. Capt. Rose, although retired, continues to serve his country by building up the future leaders of America across the southeast.