Headshot of BW student Darnell Worley

Retired army sergeant Darnell C. Worley '21 brings 23 years of life-changing military experience to his role as a full-time BW student.

Retired Army veteran ready to jumpstart his career at 76

November 9, 2017

Headshot of BW student Darnell Worley

Some students use a sturdy backpack to haul their belongings. For 76-year old Darnell C. Worley '21, no tote is big enough to store the extraordinary experiences he had during his 23 years with the U.S. Armed Services.

The honorably discharged retired Army sergeant and Cuyahoga County deputy sheriff began his service in 1956 prior to finishing high school* and completed it in 1979. Midway, he spent a year in Vietnam.

Headshot of BW student Darnell Worley when he was in the militaryToday, he is completing his first semester at BW as a full-time transfer student majoring in accounting. The Parma native has career goals and an unwavering ambition to achieve them.

Man of Admiration and Allegiance

According to Randy Stevenson, veteran student services coordinator, Worley serves as a role model for other BW students involved in the Veterans Resource Center.

"Darnell is a modest man of few words, but what he says really makes an impact. He is a leader," noted Stevenson. "He spent his life serving others, first in the military and later for 21 years as a deputy sheriff.

"His work with the U.S. Army helped create lasting change in paving the way for individuals currently in the military and for veterans. We owe gratitude to Darnell and others who exemplify what it means to faithfully serve our country with honor and steadfast allegiance."

A Soldier...Always a Soldier

Though the Vietnam War was decades ago, Worley says that, for him, it is merely a few steps away in his past. While other veterans of that era experienced the backlash of anti-war protests, his vantage point was fixed solely on his work for the military. 

His work spanned several assignments and his accomplishments were well documented through his rise in rank. As every soldier has a moment of poignant significance in his or her military life, Worley recalls his meaningful experience with candor and honesty. 

Looking at the brutality of war in front of him – a field of bombed Vietnamese civilians – he decided at that moment that placing himself in such circumstances qualified him to say, "I am an American soldier. Unhyphenated. Just American." No racial label would define him.

"I grew up in an era when racial labels were something others affixed to you as a way of trying to define who you were," he continued. "But at that moment in Vietnam, I earned the right to not be held back by labels of who others ascribed me to be.

"Even today, though I am a retired veteran, I am still a soldier. Always a soldier," he noted with pride, authority and humbleness. 

*Worley completed his high school education while in the military.