Thompson Air Force Junior ROTC raises funds for hurricane victims

By EMILY REED / Special to the Reporter

ALABASTER – Members of the Thompson Air Force Junior ROTC recently donated money they were planning to use for the group’s annual Military Ball to help victims of Hurricane Harvey.

“Each year the Air Force Junior ROTC unit at THS puts on a Military Ball for the cadets and their friends,” said Lt. Col. Douglass Crabb. “The ball is a formal dance that is basically the equivalent of a prom for the JROTC cadets. Male cadets wear their dress uniforms while the ladies wear formal dresses.”

Crabb said the event also includes catering by a local restaurant, a DJ for dancing, door prizes, a professional photographer, and lots of fun for everyone.

The cadets raise funds for the ball through the sale of spirit clothing, cookie dough, and other means, Crabb said.

“This year cadets raises, and set aside, more than $1,000 for the ball,” Crabb said. “However, when Hurricane Harvey hit Houston, our cadets realized that there were many people who could use those funds to recover from the devastation wrought by the flood waters from the storm. So, by unanimous vote, our cadet staff decided to donate all of the $1,000 to charities working to bring relief to those who lost so much in the storm. In addition to the $1,000 of Military Ball funds, cadets also raised $583 at the Warriors’ home football game against Tuscaloosa.”

There are 98 cadets in the program, and Crabb said the group saw a need and decided to see how they could help.

“Our mission is to build citizens of character and this is part of putting our classroom lessons into real life practice,” Crabb said. “This was a great thing for the group. They learned that to really help those who have lost so much it takes more than just passing a hat, it takes real sacrifice.”

All Junior ROTC programs are citizenship programs, meaning they are not military recruiting programs and the citizenship charter is stated in Title 10 United States Code Law.

Air Force Junior ROTC works to teach important skills and reinforce personal traits to help make students successful in life, no matter what type of career they choose following high school.

Crabb said the life skills are based on the Air Force core values of “integrity first, service before self, and excellence in all we do.”

Cadets are also taught the aspects of leadership, ‘followership,’’ adherence to personal appearance and grooming standards, proper uniform wear and also have the opportunity to participate in co-curricular activities including community service.

Crabb said these activities reinforce the lessons they will learn in the classroom and provide them an opportunity to lead and learn among their peers.

“These activities are our ‘hands on’ teaching tools and are a very fun and exciting way to reinforce the importance of team-work, service, positive attitude, hard-work, and positive image,” Crabb said. “Air Force Junior ROTC is a place where a student will not only start to grasp important life lessons, but they will truly feel a sense of accomplishment, belonging, and pride that comes with teamwork and success.”