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.
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, faculty, and staff convened in the Missouri Military Academy Centennial Gymtorium Thursday for the second all-school assembly of the year. After the Color Guard posted the colors, Battalion Commander John Dillon ’13 introduced school officials for the award presentations.
They recognized outstanding performers among both faculty and the Corps of Cadets for the month of November. Award winners include:
Student of the month: Rodrigo Marroquin ’17
Athlete of the month: Patricio Herrera ’13
Teacher of the month: MAJ Mike Shoemaker
The Honor Award, created to be awarded to the cadet who most exemplifies the MMA Honor Code, was presented by LTC Greg Seibert to Dallas Lopez ’14. Seibert also announced that Echo Company mentor LT Murrell Adams was the recipient of the Mentor of the Month award. Rifle coach 1SG Randal Jacobson also announced the achievements of several of his shooters, who continue to advance through the ranks of marksmanship.
1SG Alan Hakes then honored a handful of cadets who participated in the Wounded Warrior 10K/5K Run in Columbia, Mo. recently. The group that ran in the 10K, including 1SG Hakes, took first place overall in the race. He presented the victory plaque to the Academy, which will be displayed.
Academy president Mr. Charles A. McGeorge took time to recognize Greg Morton and the MMA maintenance staff and present them with the Presidential Gold Star for their hard work making sure things run smoothly in the Academic Building, Barnard Hall, Stribling Hall, and the rest of campus.
MAJ Richards Boyce introduced the director of the Central Missouri Food Bank, who spoke about the importance of the cadets’ involvement with the food bank. She expressed her gratitude for the cadets’ ongoing commitment to serving the mid-Missouri community.
The meeting also featured a performance by the MMA Band and Choir, who tried to kick off the holiday season with some Christmas-themed selections.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.