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  • Writer's pictureTodd McKinley

Two Roads

Updated: Feb 26

Title: Two Roads

Please watch Todd Talks Episode 7 after reading this blog update.

1992 was my Freshman year at Sullivan North High School, little did I know it set me up to take the road "less traveled by," which for me "has made all the difference."

As I mentioned in my video titled Todd Talks Episode 5, 1992 was the year the Sullivan County Board of Education approved the inclusion of a Junior Reserve Officer Training Course (JROTC) program into the curriculum at Sullivan North. Truly, in my wildest dreams, I could never have imagined that that one decision on their part would lead to a lifetime of what I can only refer to as a mixture of both service and adventure. After initially choosing to serve in the United States Army, I continued to encounter opportunity after opportunity of paths I could choose.

I chose to jump out of planes as a Paratrooper amongst other things. After serving around 5 years, I was recruited to serve at the White House Communications Agency. I’ve traveled and seen the world all while serving my country. In all the places I’ve been, even while serving in combat in two wars and multiple hostile nations and others, I've made it a point to learn all I can.


I traveled Europe using my Military ID card, I’ve traveled under Diplomatic and Official Passports while supporting U.S. Presidents and Vice Presidents, I’ve also used my Tourist Passport to travel a bit as well, one such trip was with my late best friend, and fellow Army Veteran Brad Bush, who sadly committed suicide on Christmas Eve 2017. I’ve stepped foot on 6 of the 7 continents, visited in various capacities nearly three dozen nations, 46 of the 50 U.S. States, and at least 1 U.S. Territory, plus the District of Columbia.

In all my travels, I’ve met and dealt with some real characters, from the famous and important to the not-so-famous but still important types. I’ve met Kings, Queen Elizabeth II on two occasions, and a Pope. Presidents, Prime Ministers, Ambassadors, and many others with any number of titles and honors, and it all began by choosing a path.

I say all of this to point out that those choices and opportunities have never been lost on me. My road forked again in 2016 when I had a choice to stay in Hawaii, take a lucrative government contracting job, or retire and return home. To me, it was an easy choice. I chose home. I chose family. I chose a return to serve my community.

Samuel Langhorne Clemens aka Mark Twain wrote “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.”


Certainly, I’ve not vegetated in any corner, nor do I plan to start now. I’m just getting going, I plan to put all that I’ve learned in my travels, my education, my military, and post-military experiences, and my connections to good use for the people of Sullivan County Board of Education District 5 to great use.


Early voting is already underway and runs through February 27th and the Primary Election is on March 5th.

Published Blogs

Todd A. McKinley, BA, MSL


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