Category Archives: Service

Help Support the Senior Class Gift: U.S. Marines Bench

IMG_9424Missouri Military Academy’s Memorial Wall features the names of MMA community members who have died serving their country. Nearby benches honor three of the four service academies — the U.S. Army, the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Air Force.

But not the U.S. Marines.

“When LET classes go down to the field house, seniors usually sit on the service benches and wait until we start moving,” senior class president Yunil Jeon said. “One day I figured out that we are missing: a U.S Marines bench. At that moment I figured that we, the senior class, should get one for the school!”

IMG_9430The 2016 Senior Class Gift was thus chosen. The Class of 2016 has thus far raised several hundred dollars by selling raffle tickets April 16 at the Festival of the Arts and hosting a pancake breakfast fundraiser that morning.

They still have a ways to go, however!
To help support our seniors and Marines, click here.

Valentine Weekend Highlights


Eight cadets and two staffers joined 160 fellow participants and took the Mexico Polar Plunge on February 13 at Plunkett Park.

“A group of cadets took on the challenge of plunging into a cold lake during freezing temperatures,” Jonathan James ’16 said.

12711282_1692471871034231_4954453163730649556_oKiwanis Lake was frozen over except for a small chunk cut out for the Plunge. The temperature high during the Plunge was 22 degrees.
MMA donated $500, which contributed to the weekend’s total donations of $24,000 toward Special Olympics Missouri. SOMO provides a year-round program of sports training and competition for children and adults with intellectual disabilities.

Because I love doing charity fundraisers. JONATHAN JAMES ‘16
I took the Polar Plunge because it was for a good cause. JEREMY ELKINS ‘17

12698395_1692471391034279_7404412611269964716_oHOW DID THE WATER FEEL?
The water was so cold that it stung you. It was a rush of cold that went through your body. JONATHAN JAMES ‘16
The water was definitely below freezing. … After I got out, I couldn’t feel my feet for an hour so it must have been really cold. My whole body went numb after I dunked my head. NOAH WEBSTER ‘18
I think the water was like 1,000,000 degrees below zero. It felt like my whole body was going to freeze! My hair froze and I couldn’t feel my feet or my hands for almost an hour. JEREMY ELKINS ‘17

Yes. It was a lot of fun and we overcame our fears. JONATHAN JAMES ‘16
I might do it again if I get the option to. JEREMY ELKINS ‘17

IMG_1592_hacker_albertsenUKULELE DUO

At the Valentine Ball on February 13, amateur ukulele enthusiasts and MMA sophomores Otto Albertsen and Noah Hacker entertained cadets, staffers and their families with love songs “Can’t Help Falling in Love” and “You and I.”


I first attempted to play the ukulele last year, when a friend lent me his for me to try and play a song I had heard. Winter break 2014 came around and I began teaching myself the acoustic guitar. After falling in love with the instrument, I decided I wanted something a little more portable and easy to take with me anywhere I go. I received a new Córdoba over the 2015 winter break and I have instinctively played it every day since. OTTO ALBERTSEN ’18

I’ve played ukulele for only two months now. My parents got me a ukulele of Christmas for a present and I immediately fell in love with it. I’m basically in love with the sound and style of the ukulele — its tropical, cute and happy tone. NOAH HACKER ‘18


The song I played was called “Can’t Help Falling in Love.” I heard the original by Elvis Presley far before I even picked up a ukulele. I always enjoyed the song but it wasn’t until I heard a cover by my favorite band that I decided I wanted to learn it. OTTO ALBERTSEN ’18

The ukulele song I played was called “You and I.” My mother and I used to listen to the song when I was young. But after years rolled by, I forgot the song existed. I remember hearing the song again on a commercial. It basically was memory lane with the song, so I decided this was the perfect song to play for the dance. NOAH HACKER ‘18

Playing for the Valentines Ball was a good experience, considering it was the first time I had played the uke in front of an audience. I was very nervous leading up to the performance, but
when I stood millimeters away from the mic, I kind of forgot I was even playing. OTTO ALBERTSEN ‘18

IMG_1590_albertsenI felt very nervous at first going up on the stage. I was afraid of people judging me on how I played. But I just decided I’m not going to allow someone’s opinion to affect the things I love the most. I want to motivate people to be themselves for what they love and what they enjoy without people judging them and affecting them. We can’t let people how they think of us effect who we are. NOAH HACKER ‘18 

All kinds of music are my favorite. NOAH HACKER ‘18 


Cadets Collect Nearly 3000 Donations for Food Bank

Cadets spent the month of December collecting food donations for the less fortunate of mid-Missouri.  The Corps ended up gathering 3,000 cans of food, or roughly 2,700 pounds, for the Central Missouri Food Bank.

Missouri Military Academy Community Service

Battalion and Company staff led the charge with the collection of donations this year. Pictured (left to right): Ethan Rachell ’13, Tyler Grogan ’13, Ricardo Padilla ’14, Rick Massey-Scott ’13, Diego Martinez ’13, Francisco Del Rio ’13; (back row) Andres Garcia ’13, Mexico (Mo.) Help Center representative Gary Jones , John Dillon ’13, Jose Garcia (JO) ’13

Cadets Contribute to Sandy Recovery Effort

As residents of the northeast continue to rebuild in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, Missouri Military Academy cadets are doing their part to help out in the recovery effort.  Assistant Commandant MAJ Brian Galarza currently lives in Mexico, Mo., but originally comes from Bell Harbor, New York, an area affected by the storm.  Galarza collected donated items from the Corps of Cadets before making a trip to his home state to visit family.  The items donated consisted of dry socks, rubber gloves, and other items of clothing.

Cadets Andres Garcia ’13, Santiago Prieto ’14, MAJ Brian Galarza, Chad Cardott ’14, and Ethan Rachell ’13 pack up donated goods before Galarza departs for New York.

Cadets Head Out into Community to Give a Helping Hand

One way Missouri Military Academy cadets contribute to their community is by volunteering their time serving local organizations.  The entire Corps of Cadets ventured around Mexico and surrounding areas Tuesday, October 2.

Some cadets traveled to Columbia to do their part.  Whether it involved clearing brush from Mexico parks or spending time with veterans at the Missouri Veterans Home, cadets were ready to serve.

PHOTOS:  Click here for more photos from Community Service Day

About 30 cadets volunteered in Columbia at the Central Missouri Food Bank preparing food to be distributed to the less fortunate in mid-Missouri.  Other sites at which most of the Corps lent a hand included the city of Mexico and its parks, the Audrain County Historical Society, and a few community churches.  This year, an additional 25 cadets headed to Auxvasse, about 10 miles south of Mexico, to assist city officials with cleanup around town.

Simon Barrera ’15 took care of some brush in Mexico’s Lakeview Park.  Local park cleanup was part of the duties during Tuesday’s Community Service Day.

The cadets’ service is not limited to Audrain County.  Earlier this school year, LT Edsel Baker accompanied one group of cadets to Busch Stadium to help collect recyclables from fans in the stands during a St. Louis Cardinals game.  Cadets also volunteer every Tuesday assembling food packages as part of the Central Missouri Food Bank’s “Buddy Packs” program.

Cadets participate in two community service days throughout the year, with the second occurring in May.

New Service Opportunity in 2012 for MMA Cadets

Missouri Military Academy cadets have long prided themselves on the service they volunteer throughout the school year.  Another opportunity to help out in the Mexico, Mo. community has been presented to them for 2012-2013.

Middle School Principal MAJ Richards Boyce, also the coordinator of the Buddy Packs program at MMA, accompanied ten cadets to First Presbyterian Church to assist the Central Missouri Food Bank as volunteers from the organization set up the Mobile Food Pantry.  Once a month those volunteers distribute goods to those in need in rural mid-Missouri communities.

During the school year, MMA cadets are going to lend a hand at the Mobile Food Pantry once a month.  Every second Tuesday, those in need will come to the church and get full assistance from cadets.

From the moment they walk in to when they leave, they will have the help of an MMA cadet.

Joshua John ’18 moves down the line at the Mobile Food Pantry Thursday, September 13.  Cadets will push carts and load cars for those in need once every month.

Barbara Green with the Central Missouri Food Bank says over 20,000 pounds of food are distributed at the Mobile Food Pantry each month.

“They were an enormous help,” she said of the cadets.  “Many people who received food were commenting on [the cadets] willingness to help, and their great manners.  They were extremely busy the entire time they were there.”

She added that 310 families, including 898 individuals, had a much easier time at the food bank because of the cadets.  They will volunteer at the Mobile Food Pantry October 11, November 8, December 13, January 10, February 14, March 14, April 11, and May 9.

Cadets Assist Emergency Management Team in Training

Missouri Military Academy cadets are presented with a number of opportunities to serve their community, but on April 5, they contributed in a different way.

27 cadets, many of them members of the MMA Dramateers, were active “victim” participants in the MU School of Medicine Mass Casualty Simulation at the Macon, Mo. Expo Center.

Members of the disaster response team respond to Clayton Workman ’12, who was trapped under debris.   

The cadets, under the guidance of CPT Jonathan Griffin, MMA Dramateers Sponsor, and Mrs. Amy Griffin, MMA Dramateers co-sponsor, spent over three hours in a live action simulation of a disaster.  Cadets portrayed victims whose injuries were as minor as shock and as serious as life threatening wounds.  Some cadets experienced make-up for the first time as well.

PHOTOS:  Click here for more photos from the MU disaster simulation

“It was a great experience for the Dramateers,” Griffin said.  “They were able to see how first responders and other caregivers are trained.  Plus, it gave [the cadets] the chance to gain experience and further enhance their own acting abilities.  We are glad we were able to get that experience and do some community service as well.”

First responders, fire department volunteers, and other emergency management teams from mid-Missouri took part in the simulation.  They were trained in all facets of disaster response, including triage, medical treatment, and conveying information to the public.

Skinner Earns Boy Scouts’ Highest Honor

Missouri Military Academy is proud to offer young men many avenues to explore different extracurricular opportunities.  Those who are involved with the Boy Scouts of America are presented with their own unique opportunity.

With the assistance of MAJ Dennis Diederich, MMA’s quartermaster and local troop scoutmaster, Boy Scouts who attend MMA are able to continue their work with the organization to reach higher levels.

One MMA cadet was recently recognized for achieving the highest honor a Boy Scout can receive – the Eagle Scout award.  To become an Eagle Scout, young men must complete a number of different requirements and also coordinate their own service project to their community.

Travis Skinner ’12 of St. Jacob, Illinois was honored at Review on Sunday, March 25 after meeting all the criteria for the award.  For his project, Travis oversaw the construction of a new flagpole next to the scoreboard on Colonels Field.

Diederich says the flag pole was placed there because MMA hosts the annual Cub Scout Day Camp.  He says that event brings several hundred Cub Scouts MMA’s campus in June from a number of mid-Missouri communities including Mexico, Centralia, Fulton, Montgomery City, Wellsville, Laddonia, Perry and Paris.  The flag pole Skinner provided is used in their opening and closing flag ceremonies.

 As part of the Eagle Scout honor at an MMA Review, the scout gives a commemorative pin to each parent or guardian that is present.

Other components that are involved in gaining this honor include a lengthy application as well as achieving at least 21 badges in his scout career.

MMA scouts belong to Troop 39 of the Great River Council of the Boy Scouts, which represents Columbia and northeast Missouri.  The Academy has assisted 15 cadets in working toward their goal of becoming an Eagle Scout since 2000.  One of Skinner’s classmates, Tommy Abraham ’12, also reached the Eagle Scout level in 2011.

Travis is pictured below with his parents, Mike and Tracy (left), and his grandparents, Colonel John Spear USAF (Ret.) and his wife Margola,  next to the flagpole on Colonels Field.  A plaque commemorates Travis’ work at the base of the pole.











MMA Sea Cadets Earn Recognition for Program Involvement

Two Missouri Military Academy cadets who are members of the U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps have earned accolades for their involvement and achievement with the program. Nicholas Mabbs ’14 (right) earned the Distinguished Service Ribbon for his work at Camp Perry, Ohio.  Blake Bibles ’13 (left) was awarded a Certificate of Achievement and a Physical Fitness Ribbon.  Academy president MajGen Robert Flanagan and program director LTJG Brian Sharp presented the two Sea Cadets with their awards before Army Days Saturday, March 24.










Plunging for a Purpose

Missouri Military Academy is proud to support causes that benefit the community, even by jumping into icy waters on a Saturday afternoon.

A group of MMA representatives including head football coach and social studies instructor LT Marc Wilson, cadets Orshikh Bilegdemberel ’12 and Ethan Rachell ’13, and Stephanie Schnarre of AmeriServe coordinated fundraising for the Special Olympics of Missouri so it could take part in the organization’s Polar Bear Plunge February 18.

LT Wilson leads the charge into a chilly Kiwanis Lake.  The MMA team went on the final plunge of the afternoon.

The Polar Bear Plunge is held every February in Mexico, Mo. at Kiwanis Lake.  Hosted by the Northeast Missouri chapter of Special Olympics, donations support local Special Olympics athletes.

The MMA group rose over $525 in online and cash pledges for the event.  In order to participate in the Polar Bear Plunge, teams must raise at least $500 in donations.

Pictured (L to R):  Bilegdemberel, Rachell, Schnarre, Wilson

A total of 160 Mexico residents plunged that Saturday, raising over $15,000 for local Special Olympics athletes.

Afterward the MMA team enjoyed a homemade soup and chili bar at St. John’s Lutheran Church before returning to campus.

Mexico Chamber Recognizes MMA Community Service Program

Missouri Military Academy president MajGen Robert M. Flanagan accepted an award on behalf of the school at an event recognizing outstanding members of the Mexico, Mo. community.

MMA received the Mexico Chamber of Commerce Civic Award for the first time as a result of numerous community service projects in which the school’s cadets have participated.

MMA began its community service program in 2008 and since that time, 493 cadets have contributed over 18,000 hours of community service hours.  Cadets have had a hand in service projects in Mexico, Mo. and surrounding communities, in international cities as part of school-sponsored Educational Tours, and in their home towns around the world.

Mexico Chamber of Commerce Board President Tony Robertson presents MajGen Flanagan the Chamber’s Civic Award.  The organization recognized MMA for its contributions to the Mexico community in the past year.

Some examples of the service cadets provide to the community include:  raising money for and sometimes assisting with Special Olympics events, volunteering for Red Cross blood drives, tutoring local children through the Big Brothers/Big Sisters program, packaging food for the Buddy Packs program and local food banks, placing American flags at the Missouri Veterans Home, serving as Salvation Army bell ringers, policing grounds at local public parks, and visiting elder care facilities.

The Educational Tours also encourage cadets to serve communities internationally.  MMA cadets have worked at a food kitchen for the homeless in Montreal and also helped rebuild a school in Costa Rica.

Flanagan says he and the school’s faculty and staff are proud of the support the cadets have given to local and international communities.  He added that the cadets have shown they understand the real value of selfless service, and says he hopes future cadets continue to learn that lesson.

MMA Fights Hunger through Christmas Food Drive

The spirit of giving has taken over Missouri Military Academy once again.  Cadets, faculty, and staff participated in the annual Christmas Food Drive, which wrapped up Monday.  The drive benefits the Mexico Help Center and Food Pantry, an agency devoted to assisting the less fortunate in Mexico and Audrain County.

Between November 8 and December 10, the cadets, faculty, and MMA staff collected diapers, baby wipes, canned goods, and boxed items.  At the end of the drive, MMA’s company commanders presented Kaylie Nowlin, director of the Mexico Help Center, with the donations as well as $300 for the center.

Pictured (L to R):  Ernesto Cepeda ’12, Jesus Alvarez ’12, E.J. Chung ’12, Kaylie Nowlin, Roberto Garcia ’12, Jared Roberts ’12

Nowlin says the center is very appreciative of the MMA’s effort throughout the last month while collecting the donations.

In addition to the food drive, cadets will also welcome children from the Missouri School for the Deaf in Fulton, Mo. this week.  They will sing Christmas songs, pass out presents, and greet Santa Claus at a special event at the school Wednesday.

Railsplitters Conduct Military Burial of World War II Veteran

Missouri Military Academy cadets were asked to give military honors to a WWII veteran from Mexico, Mo., who recently passed away.  MMA’s Railsplitters had the honor of serving as pallbearers and performing a rifle salute, with Cadet John Dillon ’13 playing “Taps” on the bugle.

Railsplitters Coordinators MAJ Mike Shoemaker and LTC Tim Scherrer also assisted with the funeral service.  “I hope we can continue to serve others who have served our country so well,” Shoemaker said.  This was the first time MMA cadets have helped with a local military burial.

Cadets Help Feed Over 500 Mexico Children

500 Audrain Country children in need received food through a successful program sponsored by the Central Missouri Food Bank and Missouri Military Academy. On Wednesday, November 16, a large delivery headed their way as a result of MMA cadets’ volunteered hours with the “Buddy Pack” program.

Since the beginning of the 2011-2012 school year, MMA cadets have volunteered their Tuesday evenings to collect and pack up donated food that helps feed hungry children in Mexico, Mo. Representatives from the Central Missouri Food Bank visited the school to help put together the delivery.









Middle School Principal MAJ Richards Boyce, who oversees the program at MMA, says it is very special to take part in the Buddy Packs program, and it is important for the cadets to learn the significance of charity and giving.

The Food Bank’s representatives assisted cadets in loading collected food into trucks to be distributed.  This is the second year the two groups have teamed up to fight hunger in Audrain County.