GREENEVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL) — A Greeneville High School JROTC instructor received a special surprise on Friday.

During a year-end awards ceremony for JROTC students, Master Sgt. Marcus Durden was surprised with a retirement celebration.

After 24 years of active-duty service, Durden became one of the founders of the high school’s Air Force JROTC units.

Elected officials and JRTOC alumni were at Friday’s event to bid Durden farewell as he enters retirement.

“It makes my heart feel good to see that these kids are out there, and they are achieving, they’re doing well,” Durden said. “They found a path in life. So that’s the rewarding part.”

Durden said he was amazed by the surprise send-off.

“With the amount of work they put into this, it was incredible,” he said.

More than 50 JRTOC alumni attended the event to bid Durden farewell.