Marine veteran Joshua Cherry credits strategic plan, Veterans Resource Center with smooth transition to GTCC BLET program

Published on: May 21, 2024
A male in a GTCC BLET polo poses for a portrait with his arms crossed.
After Joshua Cherry finished his service with the Marine Corps, GTCC's basic law enforcement training program was the clear next step for him.

Joshua Cherry believes in having a plan. To him, a solid plan is the key to success.

That’s why he headed to Marine Corps basic training less than a month after graduating from high school in 2019.

That’s also why after four years of service, he knew he was entering the Guilford Technical Community College basic law enforcement training (BLET) program before he left the Marine Corps last August.

“For a long time, I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I was going back and forth in my head. I didn’t know if I wanted to extend my (Marine Corps) contract or go back to college full time,” said Cherry, who is originally from Greenville, North Carolina, but lives in Greensboro now. “Eventually, it came around to helping people. I love helping people. I kept asking myself, ‘What could I do and have a purpose?’”

Cherry believed there was no better way to help others than law enforcement. There is a history of law enforcement officers in his family, and he could carry on the family tradition and help others.

“This was as close as I could get to what I wanted, and there was a background of law enforcement in my family,” he said. “At one point I thought about staying longer (in the Marine Corps), but the longer I was in, I came to the decision that I best start on a new journey in my life that didn’t require me to be in the military.”

Daryl Loftis, who is the coordinator of GTCC’s BLET program, believes it was the perfect decision for Cherry.

“Mr. Cherry is a motivator. For those who choose to serve their country, BLET, and then law enforcement are a natural fit to continue in the role of choosing to serve others,” said Loftis.

Cherry began GTCC’s basic law enforcement training in January this year.

“I made that decision to attend GTCC a little before I got out. I didn’t want to come out without a plan of what I wanted to do,” said Cherry.

From August until classes began in January, he relaxed, decompressed, and readjusted to civilian life. As usual, it was a solid plan. He graduated from the BLET program in May and has already secured a job as a police officer on the N.C. Central University police force.

A vital element in Cherry’s success has been the GTCC Veterans Resource Center (VRC). Located in the Medlin Campus Center, the VRC provides students with resources to be successful. Working with staff, students can research and apply for Veteran’s Administration benefits for college.

It also provides an opportunity to study and network with other veterans, use resource center computers, and relax in the lounge area.

“I’ve used the veterans resource center quite a lot since I’ve been here. I go there for different questions I may have about benefits, questions about what I can and can’t do.

“I love the camaraderie they have in the resource center. The staff makes everyone feel welcome when they come in. They are very well educated on what they are talking about.”

The resource center, along with college staff members, Cherry says, has made the move into a college atmosphere much easier.

“It was a very easy transition. The college made it very clear what I have to do. It was all very well organized,” Cherry said. “I definitely feel like I’m part of the student body. I’m constantly informed by text or email of what is going on with job fairs on and off campus.”

For more information on GTCC’s BLET program, visit

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