KILLEEN — Almost 10 years ago, when Jennifer Alvarez was a 15-year-old Junior ROTC cadet at Calvin Nelms High School in Houston, her senior instructor, Lt. Col. Steve Rakel, told her that to give anything less than your best is to sacrifice your gift.

Rakel, now 61, in his 43rd year of service in the Air Force and a recent three-time participant in the Iron Man Triathalon, remembers delivering Steve Prefontaine’s motivational message, and he acknowledges its impact on both of their lives.

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