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JROTC cadets join in Freeman project

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POSTED: October 4, 2010 11:07 p.m.
Photo by Lori Wynn/

Richmond Hill High School Junior Reserve Officer Training (JROTC) members Kaylee McCauley, Alina Gonzalez, Krisha Bailey, Keigen Kammerling, Tiara Jones, Dustyn Herrin, Ashlee Cook and Friedrich Sedlak, along with JROTC Sgt. Maj. Charles Bradley and Lisa Freeman, gather Friday at the post office on Hwy. 144 to prepare a shipment of school supplies to be sent over seas as part of the Matthew Freeman Project: Pens and Paper for Peace.

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It’s 3 o’clock on a Friday afternoon, and while most Richmond Hill High schoolers are probably rushing home to get ready for the homecoming game, a handful are in the post office parking lot hauling containers full of school supplies and getting them ready to be mailed.
The students are members of the Richmond Hill High School Junior Reserve Officer Training (JROTC), and the shipment of colorful containers they are preparing is going to Iraq, where the pencils, glue, crayons and paper will be distributed by military service members to school children.
“This is what we in the military do,” Sgt. Maj. Charles Bradley told his battalion as they taped labels to the boxes and filled out postal forms. “We come together to help people. This is what we do.”
And the students all seem more than happy to help. Everyone appears to be in a cheerful mood, and there are fresh-baked cookies to boot – thanks to Lisa Freeman.
“Mrs. Freeman asked us if we wanted to volunteer and – obviously – we said ‘yes,’” said senior classman and JROTC member Kaylee McCauley.
The shipment of school supplies is being sent over seas as part of the Matthew Freeman Project: Pens and Paper for Peace. Freeman was a Marine captain who died in Afghanistan a little more than a year ago.
His mother Lisa, a former Richmond Hill school teacher, launched the nonprofit pens and paper campaign earlier this year after getting the idea from one of the last conversations she had with her son. The project’s mission is to help provide school supplies to children in war-torn countries in an effort to improve and continue their education.
The first shipment of supplies was sent to Afghanistan in August and another from Biloxi, Miss., went over seas in September. The shipment JROTC is helping with is going to the 3rd of 17th Calvary Army base and 82nd CAT Marine Forward Operating Base, both in Afghanistan.
Freeman said the Marine FOB alone has access to around 4,000 children, for which to distribute the supplies.
“We have 17 containers here and all of the supplies are from Richmond Hill schools combined,” Freeman said standing in the post office parking lot.
And not only did JROTC help get the containers ready to ship, the nine members and their sergeant major helped package the supplies, too.
“We packed up all the school supplies Wednesday,” Bradley said. “It took about a hour to an hour and a half.”
McCauley said the chance to help with the Matthew Freeman Project is part of what JROTC is all about.
“For our program, this is great,” she said. “We try to get very involved in our communities, and this is just another way we can help.”
In addition to McCauley, JROTC members include senior Alina Gonzalez, senior Krisha Bailey, sophomore Keigen Kammerling, junior Tiara Jones, senior Dustyn Herrin, junior Ashlee Cook and junior Friedrich Sedlak.

 

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