Guest Viewpoint: West Iredell JROTC cadets set new standard for community service

Posted at 4:12 PM on Nov 29, 2017


West Iredell High School JROTC cadets hosted a Veterans Day Ceremony and Luncheon on November 9.

By Lt. Col. (Retired) Eric Van Vliet and First Sgt. (Retired) Reginald H. Hooker

The cadets in their 4th year of JROTC at West Iredell High School have ramped up the community service-hour requirement for all 130 cadets, but nobody is complaining.

As a matter of fact, the mandate is a cause for celebration.

This year the seniors in West’s JROTC Program are requiring that all each cadet to complete a minimum of 15 community support hours per semester. We, as the JROTC instructors, were amazed to witness the level of enthusiasm in the implementation of this cadet-led initiative.

As of November, the cadets have already completed 2,500 hours of service and are planning assistance projects from a list of organizations that demonstrate “need” on a recurring basis.

These service learning and community outreach programs have brought our academic program to life. The cadets are learning that service to one’s community is a rewarding experience, especially if you can see the difference through your selfless service to others.

This year the cadets of the West Iredell Army JROTC program have exceeded all goals for community service, and they are only 40 percent into their school year. Exceeding 2,500 hours of service to others may seem like an ominous task, but it has been an experience in social responsibility that the cadets have cherished.

Veteran’s Day Ceremony and Luncheon

The level of outreach and community support is a “win-win” for both the community and the cadets. Helping others in our own Statesville community has exposed these cadets to diversity, while allowing them to apply what they’ve learned in the classroom to the world around them.

On November 9, the cadets planned and carried out the Iredell County Veteran’s Day Ceremony, a capstone event for our program and our school. Additionally the cadets are focused on supporting Purple Heart Homes, Hospice, the Toys for Tots program, and individually cadet selected community outreach programs.

Community service is alive and well at West Iredell School JROTC and we are thankful to be a part of such great young men and women who are making a difference.

Lt. Col. (Retired) Eric Van Vliet and First Sgt. (Retired) Reginald H. Hooker are West Iredell High School JROTC Instructors.

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