At a time when many high school Junior ROTC programs have difficulty keeping a strong enrollment or are being phased out; the Tuscola High School Air Force JROTC program continues to thrive through strong leadership, dedicated students, and exceptional community support. Tuscola’s Air Force JROTC program, led by Major David Clontz and Senior Master Sergeant Steve Robertson, was named Distinguished Unit with Merit earlier this year. Before the school year started, cadets attended the program’s first ever in-house Cadet Leadership Course which provided orientation classes to new cadets and experiential leadership seminars to aspiring cadet officers.
The program known by their unit number “NC075” continues down a path of distinction. NC075’s physical fitness “Raider Team” ran away from the competition taking first place at Erwin High School JROTC’s Hare in the Woods fitness competition. That was followed by the NC075 drill team taking home second place at East Henderson High School’s Strike Eagle drill completion. These accomplishments come as cadets participate in numerous activities such as fundraising and community service events. Examples of their community service events include: Haywood County Veteran Memorial Markers, Wreaths Across America, Salvation Army Bell Ringing, Haywood County Fair, Haywood County Apple Festival, U.S. Postal Workers Food Drive, presenting the Colors at school sporting events, local parades, and numerous veterans events. Cadets participated in over 1940 community service hours last year and are on pace to far exceed that number this year with over 1000 hours only half way through the first semester!
Cadets work hard, but they cannot do it alone. We would like to offer a huge thank you to Kevin Lowery of Ameripride Services for faithfully supporting our program each year. He supplies linens and other supplies for Tuscola’s JROTC Veterans Day Luncheon annually. This year Mr. Lowery also provided a generous donation for THS JROTC uniform cleaning. “Mr. Lowery’s support for our program has been huge. He has supported this program year after year, but his assistance this year with a wholesale uniform cleaning was just above and beyond. From all of the cadets, SMSgt Roberston and myself, we just can’t thank him enough, ” said Major David Clontz. Also helping was Mr. Tom Wilson of American Cleaners. “I would like to thank Mr. Tom Wilson of American Cleaners. He too went beyond the call giving time, resources, and services to help us get through a tough situation. Both Mr. Lowery and Mr. Wilson epitomize our AFJROTC Core Values of Integrity, Service and Excellence“ said Clontz.
These gentlemen have gone above and beyond to show their support of the NC075 unit and the students of Haywood County.The JROTC curriculum emphasizes academics, citizenship, character development, leadership skills, physical fitness, and community service. Mr. Lowery and Mr. Wilson have been prime community examples of citizenship, leadership, and community service. The JROTC’s goal is to educate high school students in leadership roles while making them aware of the benefits of active citizenship. Having community members who support this program and model the desired behaviors boosts the development of our students and we at Tuscola High School are truly grateful for that.