When Terrance Gant first enlisted in the Marine Corps, he wished the reason was more patriotic than enlisting to give his son better medical treatment. But what is more patriotic than working to provide better healthcare — and just a better life overall — for your family?
“I was a junior in college and I had a kid,” Gant said. “At that time he had already gotten what was called RSB. It was a respiratory virus. He had gotten it once and he got it a second time, and I needed health insurance for my kid.”
At first, Gant went to the Army recruiter, but he kept getting the run-a-round. One day, a recruiter for the Marine Corp noticed how Gant had been coming around the office. A brief conversation and some paperwork later, Gant was on a plane headed to San Diego where he was stationed as a Staff Sergeant with the Marine Corps at Camp Pendleton.
Upon his retirement from the military, Gant was ready to get back to his roots, doing what he loved, which involved football. Growing up, Gant was an all-around athlete — he played baseball, football, basketball, and even ran track. In college, however, Gant put his focus on football and played as a linebacker throughout his collegiate career.
Fast forward to 2020 — after his college years and time in the Marine Corps — Gant was coaching football when became involved with Soldiers to Sidelines through a friend. The non-profit provides a renewed sense of purpose for veterans, service members, and military spouses to become character-based coaches who serve their communities, and it seemed like a perfect fit for Gant.
“[Soldiers to Sidelines] had a virtual clinic and I took the course,” Gant said. “Once you go through the basic virtual certification, they offer you an opportunity to take their follow-up courses. It was a little bit more in-depth and a lot of work, but I did it. Then it was like, ‘Hey, well, we have this level three course. This is more football-oriented, not just coaching. We’d really like for you to get in it.’ So I took it and since then, I’ve been connected with [the organization], helping out, guest spoke at a couple of seminars, and mentored a couple of the coaches.”
Since then, Gant has been the associate head coach for the football team at Santiago High School in Corona, Calif. And as any great coach would do, Gant couldn’t help but impart wisdom on the importance of sports.
“I think [sports] are pretty important because they teach you to be a part of something that’s bigger than yourself,” Gant said. “You learn teamwork, discipline, dedication, commitment, and it sets a baseline of standards for you to achieve.”
Photo credits: courtesy of Terrance Gant