89-year-old veteran and substitute teacher gives students firsthand history lesson

Charles Dressler is a 1945 Covington High School graduate

LOW MOOR, Va. – A local veteran is spending the day educating the next generation on his experiences serving our country.

Charles Dressler ushers students into the library at Alleghany High School.

He may be a guest speaker, but he has spent the last 32 years in the classroom, teaching and substituting.

“I enjoy working with the students and letting them know some things that I have learned,” the 89-year-old explained.

At nearly 90 years old, Dressler is still investing in the next generation.

Teachers say students want to hear what he has to say.

“They're so quiet and they are just enthralled with him. They just stare and they don't play on their phones, which is the norm. They respect him so much, and as a substitute, when he's here, they love it,” said history teacher Mallory Nicely.

Nicely brings Dressler in each semester to talk about the Korean War, but even science teachers sign their students up to hear his firsthand history lesson.

“I think he's a wonderful gift, and I don't think he realizes how important he is to us here at Alleghany,” Nicely said.

“Dr. Adrales told me years ago, 'When you retire, Mr. Dressler, don't you sit home and eat potato chips, drink beer and watch TV.' He said keep this thing up here active. If I'm around students, it's active all the time,” Dressler said.

Dale Biggs recorded part of Dressler's message on his phone.

The junior was particularly inspired since he plans to enlist in the Marines Corps after high school.

“He tried his best and was always kind and friendly to people, and for me that's amazing,” Biggs said.

One student was so touched by Dressler's presence in his life, he asked a pretty loaded question.

“He asked me if I would be his Papaw. I never had anything hit me so hard in my life. If I would be his Papaw,” Dressler said.

He may not be in the classroom full time anymore, but students are still learning lifelong lessons. 

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