In honor of Veterans Day, TAPinto Paterson is running a series entitled “Heroes of Our City” to celebrate the service and dedication of our service members. Look out for a new profile of a local veterans between now and Veterans Day on November 11.

Glenn Houthuysen

Glenn joined the Air Force straight out of high school in 1979, unaware that he would stay on this path for the next 29 years of his life. He served at Altus Air Force Base in Oklahoma for a 3 years moving to the New Jersey Air National Guard at McGuire Air Force Base for the rest of his impressive career. He retired in 2008 at the rank of Senior Master Sergeant (SMSgt).

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During his tenure, Glenn flew in a KC-135, an air tanker responsible for mid-air jet refueling. As a boom operator, he controlled a long metal arm that connects from the tanker to the the jet from about 35 feet away. He describes the process of matching the speeds and airspace of the planes as “like a ballet in the air.” 

These days, you can find Glenn teaching the 3rd grade at Paterson School #27. He’s been teaching since 2001, when he decided to complete the New Pathways to Teaching in NJ program to “make a difference in kid's lives".  

His biggest takeaways from his military career are that “perseverance pays off,” and a ‘can-do’ attitude that helps him complete whatever is needed of him. He uses these lessons to keep pushing forward even when times get tough. The service also allowed him to travel across the globe to 6 different continents. He uses the stories of his adventures to educate and entertain his students in the classroom.

Glenn believes the military is a good option for young people who are unsure of what direction to take. He especially recommends the National Guard because they pay tuition to state colleges, which he believes is a great opportunity.

This Veterans Day, he will spend time thinking of those currently serving at a forward base (a secured military position used to support tactical operations). He would like them to know that their service and dedication is recognized by those of us at home, especially as the holidays approach. 

TAPinto Paterson would like to thank Glenn for his service to the country and to the city of Paterson.