The fund drive to pay for uniforms for high school students who enroll in the Naval Junior ROTC program in the next school year has ended, and the goal has been surpassed.
The goal was $25,000. At this point with some money still coming in, more than $35,000 has been raised.
The campaign was conducted by Washington Chapter 324 of the Korean War Veterans Association. Co-chairmen of the drive were Dave Anderson, commander of the KWVA chapter, Bernie Hillermann, first vice commander, and Bill Miller, Sr., second vice commander.
All of the officers, and other members of the chapter, expressed their gratitude for a successful drive at the regular monthly meeting of the chapter Thursday afternoon at Post 218, The American Legion. Hillermann gave the report on the campaign, which actually ended May 1. However, gifts still are being accepted and will be added to the uniform fund at Washington High School, site of the JROTC program. Students from St. Francis Borgia Regional High School also will participate in the program. The goal is to have at least 100 students in the program.
Washington High School has hired Lt. Tim Raines, a retired Naval officer, to be the JROTC instructor and to head up the program. He will begin his duties in August. Lt. Raines, Eureka, has been working with the Navy League in St. Louis County for several years. He has one master’s degree and is working on a second one. He is a Navy OCS graduate.
The Navy could not provide the uniforms free of charge, and will not provide other assistance until the program reaches 100 students. The KWVA chapter stepped in and volunteered to raise the money for uniforms. It costs about $250 to outfit a cadet. Male and female students will be in the program. About 50 students have indicated they wish to enter the program.
Dr. Frank Wood, WHS principal, has been working closely with Lt. Raines on the program’s space requirements, and facilities have been arranged.
In a statement issued by the KWVA chapter, appreciation was given for the great support given to the program by the many donors:
“We were highly pleased with the reception we received when seeking funds. There is great support for the program. A comment we heard often was, ‘Why didn’t we have this program a long time ago?’ We are grateful to all the donors for their generous support.”
At Thursday’s meeting, Miller gave a report on the Honor Flight trip to Washington, D.C., April 23. About half of the members present have been on Honor Flight. The program was praised by several members. Others expressed an interest in going on the next flight in September.
Miller asked that chapter members give thought to sponsoring an event to raise money for Honor Flight. Veterans are not charged for the flight. Guardians pay $500 each for a flight.