Remembering a Soddy-Daisy man who left a big impact on a former JROTC student

Master Sergeant Edward Barnes

A trip down memory lane.

"There's so many memories," says Michael Sharp.

It brings back times spent with one Soddy-Daisy man many could call a hero.

"He was constantly pushing me to do better and [to] push myself," says Michael.

Michael says he met Master Sergeant Edward Barnes his freshman year of JROTC at Soddy Daisy High School.

He says that first meeting turned into over a decade-long friendship.

"He impacted me in my life by seeing in me what I didn't see in myself," says Michael.

Last Monday, Sgt. Barnes died as a result of bone cancer complications, leaving behind friends, students, family and, overall, a legacy.

Another person who says Barnes also touched their life is Melanie Pioth.

Melanie met Barnes through her kids who were also in JROTC, where she became the team mom, bringing food for the students on their raider competition trips.

"I cooked for them for nine years," says Melanie.

She too developed that same bond most could say is irreplaceable.

"We lost a hero," says Melanie.

In learning of his cancer, Melanie says she and her family took advantage of the year they had left with him.

"We took those opportunities, because we didn't know how long he was going to live - to tell him how much he meant to us," says Melanie.

He left a mark on her children that she says they'll never forget.

"He instilled in them self-confidences that later, Rachel [Melanie's daughter] told me that it was the first time that somebody finally actually thought she could do something," she says.

From competitions to life lessons, Michael says although his life coach is no longer in pain, he'll still miss the little things.

"Just his company, seeing his smiling face every time I see him," says Michael.

But he knows Sgt. Edward Barnes will never be forgotten.

"He's just a one of a kind person that brought joy to everybody."

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