BLUFF CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — For Bluff City Mayor Jeff Broyles, leading and serving started long before he took office.

“From boyhood, I have not ever wanted to be anything but a soldier from the time I can remember growing up on our farm,” Broyles said from his office in the heart of his hometown.

His 30-year career in the Army started when he was just 18 years old.

“My family was not of very good means,” he shared. “We were actually sharecropping on a dairy farm and there was really no opportunity for me. I actually worked on the dairy farm to contribute to my family’s income.”

Broyles was an infantryman in the Combat Arms Branch and deployed a dozen times.

“I learned the value of people and a team,” he said. “Combat isn’t like what the majority of the public think it is. It’s not like it’s on TV. It’s not glamorous whatsoever.”

He received three bronze and four meritorious stars and held a multitude of leadership positions, even teaching soldiers.

“The people that you serve with, first and foremost, really nobody’s thinking about medals or money or rank and we are thinking about the overall mission success and what we should do,” he said. “But it’s just about taking care of one another each and every day.”

While the Army helped him gain an education with various degrees, the leadership skills gained through various operations have helped him to become the mayor.

“My experience in the military and the ability to be able to take on a very complex task, to be able to delegate authority effectively, and trust, to follow basically the four leadership characteristics, the leader, the follower, communication and situation, and analyze as we go along,” he said. “Plus, I do have past experience in Operation Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.”

And Broyles says being the mayor of his hometown is another dream the Army helped him to fulfill.

“When you work at the strategic level, as I did, you’re also responsible for infrastructure and civil affairs and government. When I was at senior level in the Army, it wasn’t just the combat power I was thinking about,” said Broyles. “I was thinking about reorganization and the politics of the region and a lot of different things that I actually ran into today in my role.”

Broyles has quite the resume when it comes to the military career that took him all across the globe. He also helped to establish the U.S. Army Europe Sniper Program.

Let us know about a veteran that deserves recognition for our weekly Veterans Voices series. You can do that here.