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STORY CITY, Iowa – Not many people can say they’ve worked at the same place their entire career, except for Brad Taylor.

Taylor, an agriculture teacher at Roland-Story High School, has taught for 43 years. This year will be his last as he prepares for retirement.

“I cannot express enough this recognition and my appreciation but I look at all of you and I think whatever awards we get here are really because of all of you.”

In Taylor’s time at Roland-Story, he’s won numerous awards and has helped mentor more than 40 Iowa State University students studying agriculture but more recently he’s been recognized for the work he’s doing to help give back to the community. About six years ago, he plotted a 10,000 square foot community garden. Taylor’s students tended to it and helped harvest 30,000 pounds of produce from it last year.

“It’s very humbling and rewarding because not only do you get to see the process of things growing but then you sit back and realize that you are making an impact,” says senior, Reagan Schmitz. “I’m learning life skills but I’m also helping people meet their needs.”

Over the last several years, the garden has produced more than 100,000 pounds to be donated to local food banks. However, August’s derecho destroyed the garden and pair that with the ongoing pandemic, Taylor says this year has had its challenges but it’s something he and his student can learn from.

“Perseverance. If things don’t work out right don’t throw in the towel. Get back up and try something different,” he says. “I think one thing in blessing that COVID has taught us is that we can learn on our own sometimes how to figure things out and do a lot of problem-solving.”

Taylor says he’s looking forward to slowing down in retirement but excited to explore other opportunities to fill his free time.

Watch the complete interview with Brad below: