North Surry High School’s Air Force Junior Officers Training Corps (JROTC) has announced its two community goals for the school year. According to JROTC Lt. Colonel John Bowes, one of the group’s goals this year is to create a cadet quick response team.
“The number one goal of this team is to provide help to members of the community that have an urgent need but do not have the resources to deal with it,” said Bowes. “We want to help those in the community with legitimate needs. That’s what JROTC is all about.” He said, for example, the team would respond to remove a fallen tree on a disabled person’s property or fill positions at a local soup kitchen that can’t get enough volunteers.
“Community service has such an impact on these cadets,” said Bowes. “When they return from doing something to help another you can see this look of accomplishment on their face. They enjoy helping more than they do going to Great Wolf Lodge.”
He said he felt Christmas is a time of people needing help and his group is ready to aid groups including the American Red Cross and Salvation Army in additional to helping individuals.
“We feel the sky is the limit,” continued Bowes. “Even if all someone needs is for us to visit residents in a nursing home with no one to support them, we’re up for that.”
Bowes indicated the team is available to anyone in the community who has experienced a crisis they cannot deal with themselves from a physical, mental or financial complication. Persons requesting the help of the cadets may call North Surry High School at 336-789-5055 and ask for the JROTC department. Cadet leaders will call back to discuss a plan of action to help.
“Each flight or class of JROTC came up with goals and everyone has to work together to choose,” explained Cadet Master Sgt. Alex Bowes. “We decided on the two community goals democratically this is not a dictatorship. The decision to form a quick response team originated from a cadet.”
Cadet Riley Roundey quickly added the team seemed to enjoy helping more than recreation at times.
“You can just see people come back with big smiles on their faces after they help someone,” said Roundey. “Cadet Commander Jordan Krause said JROTC sets goals yearly for school and cadet development as well.
“So many have the mindset I don’t want to do this because it’s not fun but we have an awesome time,” said Krause.
Cadet Bowes echoed her comment and said he had seen the group have more fun on service projects than on fun field trips.
“We pull together and we have fun because you realize you are a part of something bigger,” said Cadet Suth Llewellyn. “My community has a lot of elderly people and I’m used to going out and helping when there are power outages. The quick response team will allow us to do this for a bigger range of people because we do this as a group.”
Another project the cadets want to set in motion is partnering with active servicemen and women and bringing their stories back to the classroom. Families are encouraged to call North Surry with information on active service men and women interested in partnering with a cadet.
“I would imagine there would have to be more than 200 Surry County (people) now serving,” said Lt. Colonel Bowes. “We hope to contact actively serving (soldiers) through their families who would say they think it is great we sponsor this person.”
He said the cadets would write the military person a letter asking them about where they were and about their mission.
“Whether you are on the front line or in support, this would be a great opportunity for the cadets. We as teachers are constantly asked to make our teaching relevant. This is real world stuff. It would be great for them (active soldiers) to come into the classroom when they are in on leave and talk with the cadets.”
Bowes said response for the project have been less than expected.
“We really want to get going on this project,” said Bowes. “I mean, I’m really ready for the flood (of soldiers to contact). We have a goal of each cadet partnering with a service member by Christmas and sending them a care package before we leave for Christmas break in a few weeks.”
Cadet Alex Mijes said he is looking forward to contact with someone in service because it is a chance to hear stories from an individual instead of general descriptions of large groups.
Cadet Barrett Slate recalled how virtually the entire gymnasium stood up on Veterans’ Day at Meadowview Middle School when anyone with a relative in service was asked to stand and be recognized. He said at that moment he realized there were plenty of his neighbors who have served.
Krause recalled how her taking time out from a meal in a restaurant to thank a veteran for his service later inspired her eight-year old cousin and her aunt to do the same. She described the broad smile on that veteran’s face as he recognized them and waved when they were at a different restaurant months later.
Reach David Broyles at firstname.lastname@example.org or 719-1952.