Commercial driving first caught Hatcher’s interest as a viable career path while he was incarcerated.
“I knew exactly what I wanted to do,” Hatcher said about his decision to obtain a CDL. “It’s felon-friendly, for one. For two, it’s a career that’s in strong need. They need ninety-thousand truck drivers in America, and the fact of the matter is I can take that [license] anywhere. Not just in America, I can take it anywhere.”
He grins, adding, “And me being locked up for ten years, you have to understand, I do have traveling on my mind.”
A self-proclaimed lifelong learner, Hatcher has always believed in the power of education to enable an individual to rise above any situation. Prior to his felony, Hatcher was drawn to biology, intrigued by his exposure to science in the countless hours he spent in healthcare facilities as a child accompanying his mother as they sought essential care for his younger brother’s medical conditions.
“My little brother, my only sibling, he’s twenty-seven-years old now with the mind of a six-month-old,” Hatcher said. “He has cerebral palsy, epilepsy, seizures. So, we spent a lot of time—the majority of my childhood—just in and out of hospitals.”
Hatcher’s deep love of knowledge that took root in his youth benefited many of his fellow inmates when he assumed a role as an instructor for General Education Development (GED) tests while in a maximum-security correctional center in Jefferson City, Missouri. His efforts proved quite fruitful; his students had a 98% graduation rate.
“I tutored for two years, and I fell in love with teaching. I enjoyed it,” Hatcher said. “I was in a level-five prison with people who are there for the rest of their lives. They’re never getting out. School is voluntary, and we are the teachers. Inmates are teaching inmates. I had the personal satisfaction of seeing those individuals try to strive for something so great. It makes you stay on top of your game seeing them push so hard in that situation. They’re doing this for them and their own betterment and peace of mind.”
Witnessing the accomplishments of his students inspired Hatcher to stay focused on his own future as well.
“While they were taking tests, that’s when I opened up my first CDL manual in 2009,” Hatcher said. “I’ve got to be quiet so I’m just in there studying the CDL manual, reading as much as I could, and I always had it in my mind that once I got out I knew exactly what I wanted to do.”
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