JROTC hosts military ball

By Bill Colvard - bcolvard@MtAiryNews.com
JROTC cadets walk through the receiving line Saturday night. - Bill Colvard | The News
Cadet Major Joshua Westmoreland, Battalian Executive Officer, with his date for the evening, Courtney Brown. - Bill Colvard | The News
From left are 1st Sergeant Ron Montgomery, Lt. Col. (R) Harry Patteson and Sergeant Major (R) Ezequial Evaro. - Bill Colvard | The News
Guests at East Surry’s annual military ball ‘mix and mingle’ before the festivities get underway. - - Bill Colvard | The News
East Surry JROTC cadets post the colors at the beginning of a military ball. - - Bill Colvard | The News
Guests at a military ball in Pilot Mountain offer up toasts on Saturday night. - - Bill Colvard | The News

PILOT MOUNTAIN — On Saturday evening, 100 Junior ROTC cadets gathered with their dates and families for a military ball at the First United Methodist Church Family Life Center here.

The ball has been an annual event since 1983, said 1st Sergeant Ron Montgomery. Out of East Surry’s total enrollment of 650 students, 25 percent participate in JROTC, according to Montgomery, who has been in charge of East Surry’s program for 17 years.

He was joined by Lt. Col. (R) Harry Patteson and keynote speaker Sergeant Major (R) Ezequial Evaro. After a few quick calculations, Westmoreland concluded that the three men have, between them, more than 100 years in the armed forces.

Cadet Major Joshua Westmoreland, also the Battalion Executive Officer for East Surry’s JROTC, served as master of ceremonies for the evening. Westmoreland, an 18-year-old senior at East Surry, has been in Junior ROTC for all eight semesters of his high school career. He has also reached the rank of Private 1st Class in the NC National Guard. He will ship out shortly after graduation, having completed basic training in the summer of 2017 between his junior and senior years of high school. He will also be attending East Carolina University where he has also been accepted.

Westmoreland said the military ball was one of Junior ROTC’s big events of the year. “We’ve been working at it for a couple of weeks, slowly chipping away at it,” he said. “We came up with a plan, and have coordinated with the deejay and the church.”

“ROTC motivates young people to be better citizens, and to be role models,” said 1st Sergeant Montgomery.

Sergeant Major (R) Ezequial Evaro gave the evening’s keynote speech. He enlisted in the Regular Army in 1958 and retired from active duty in 1985, whereupon he assumed the duties of Assistant Army Instructor at East Surry High School. He taught JROTC at the school for 17-1/2 years, retiring in December 2001. During his tenure at East Surry SGM Evaro worked with more than 1,000 students.

JROTC cadets walk through the receiving line Saturday night.
https://www.mtairynews.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/web1_IMG_6532.jpgJROTC cadets walk through the receiving line Saturday night. Bill Colvard | The News

Cadet Major Joshua Westmoreland, Battalian Executive Officer, with his date for the evening, Courtney Brown.
https://www.mtairynews.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/web1_IMG_6519.jpgCadet Major Joshua Westmoreland, Battalian Executive Officer, with his date for the evening, Courtney Brown. Bill Colvard | The News

From left are 1st Sergeant Ron Montgomery, Lt. Col. (R) Harry Patteson and Sergeant Major (R) Ezequial Evaro.
https://www.mtairynews.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/web1_IMG_6514.jpgFrom left are 1st Sergeant Ron Montgomery, Lt. Col. (R) Harry Patteson and Sergeant Major (R) Ezequial Evaro. Bill Colvard | The News

Guests at East Surry’s annual military ball ‘mix and mingle’ before the festivities get underway.
https://www.mtairynews.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/web1_IMG_6524.jpgGuests at East Surry’s annual military ball ‘mix and mingle’ before the festivities get underway. Bill Colvard | The News

East Surry JROTC cadets post the colors at the beginning of a military ball.
https://www.mtairynews.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/web1_IMG_6568.jpgEast Surry JROTC cadets post the colors at the beginning of a military ball. Bill Colvard | The News

Guests at a military ball in Pilot Mountain offer up toasts on Saturday night.
https://www.mtairynews.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/web1_IMG_6571.jpgGuests at a military ball in Pilot Mountain offer up toasts on Saturday night. Bill Colvard | The News

By Bill Colvard

bcolvard@MtAiryNews.com

Reach Bill Colvard at 336-415-4699.

Reach Bill Colvard at 336-415-4699.