Alan Reese proudly wears the label of family man.
The Bryan man and his wife, Beverly, are raising nine adopted children.
But almost anyone who knows him feels like family, his friends and co-workers said.
Reese is greeted with high-fives and hugs from students he knows by name in the halls at Jane Long Middle School, where he's worked as a janitor for 11 years.
Reese said he and his wife decided to adopt kids when they realized they couldn't have children of their own. Reese's kids range in ages from 4 to 17. The couple first adopted in 2000, and the most recent adoption was finalized last month.
The first four children adopted are biological siblings, as were the last four. The only child adopted without siblings, Angel Reese, was four days old when the couple got her in 2001.
By adopting children who otherwise wouldn't be in stable environments, he's able to offer them something he never had, Reese said.
"Here's the thing with me," he said. "I didn't have a dad. I'm giving something back I didn't get."
The Reeses don't have plans to adopt more children, but that could change, Reese said.
The couple gets assistance from the state in helping to care for the adopted children.
Taylor Reese, the oldest of the nine children, said it was hard to truly appreciate being adopted when she was younger.
"Sometimes you wonder why you get taken away from your parents. But when you get older, you start to understand why," she said. "It was fun getting adopted into a new family and to start a new life."
Beverly Reese said she was not looking for a husband when the two met while working at a nursing home together.
"All the residents loved him, so he caught my attention," she said. "He's so humble. He's honest. He's not pretentious, none of that."
Lindsey Harris, Jane Long principal, said she appreciates the attitude Alan Reese brings to school.
"I adore him as a man and an employee," she said. "He really sends the message he doesn't come here because he has to. He chooses to be here, and that's important for the kids to see."
Former Jane Long student Benjamin Roberts, 21, said he met Alan Reese when he was about 12 years old and still keeps in contact with him.
"I used to talk to him every day at lunch," he said. "He was just really cool and I could talk to him about anything. He always gave good advice."
Students are drawn to Alan Reese because they trust him, said Beverly Davis, technology specialist at Jane Long.
"What I appreciate so much is the relationship he develops with kids," she said. "Students come to him when they don't come to other adults."