EDMOND, Okla. - A lot of kids find their way in high school. But, for the kids in Mr. McMillan's class, the path can be a complicated road.
"He has such a vision for these special needs kids that, when they leave high school, they have a plan," said Beth Gonzales whose daughter, Sydney, is a sophomore at Deer Creek High School.
McMillan and his team teach their kids to cook a meal, change a tire, find a job, figure out when someone else is trying to take advantage.
"He has these kids serve their community, and it's very important to him to see that they are integrated into their community," said Heather Squires whose daughter, Brighton, is also a sophomore.
Squires said the world is not always friendly for young adults with special needs.
"They have a higher rate of homelessness. They do have a higher rate of addiction, a higher rate of unemployment. And, it's hard to get them resources to get them over those humps," she said.
McMillan spends nearly every waking hour serving his students in the classroom and on the field.
McMillan coaches the football team, just so his students can work the sidelines. He helped Brighton Squires make the cheer team this year.
McMillan was floored when News 4 and Air Comfort Solutions surprised him with $5,000 while he was on lunch duty.
"I'm speechless," he said. "I'm totally blown away. We are lucky to be in Deer Creek and lucky to have the school district support we have. I'm blown away."
Air Comfort Solutions' Jason White was also blown away, by how much Deer Creek High School has grown since he played the Antlers in high school football.
"I used to play football against Deer Creek in high school," he said. "It was so much smaller. It has grown so much. At Air Comfort Solutions, we believe everyone in this room will be affected by a teacher in their life. Guys like Jeff are the reason the world is a better place."
McMillan's students echo White's sentiment.
"He is the bestest teacher I'll ever know," said Deer Creek Junior Aric Roberson. "He taught me everything about after high school and getting ready for life."
"The heart, he got it. He got it now, " said Deer Creek Senior Zion Cooper.
"Well, he's super sweet, and he's the best teacher around," said Deer Creek Freshman Lizzie Dodd.
Many of the kids won't go on to college.
Jeff McMillan's class is their last stop before they hit the real world. The students are lucky for that.
McMillan is a gift to all he has taught. His teaching skills and creativity are unmatched.
And, McMillan continues to work, teach and give all he has even as his wife, Dawna McMillan has been fighting breast cancer.
Congratulations, Mr. McMillan, on the well-deserved award.
'Thankful 4 Teachers' is sponsored by Air Comfort Solutions.