By BRAD KELLAR
Dozens of students stood at attention in the shade of the Greenville High School building as United States Coast Guard Warrant Officer (Ret.) Vernon McGee presented a plaque to their commander, James Reed, the senior naval instructor for the Navy Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (NJROTC) program.
On hand was Commander John Turner of the Disabled American Veterans, Gene Toohey of the American Legion, GHS principal Heath Jarvis and members of other Hunt County veterans organizations.
“The ROTC program has really been beneficial to a lot of our students,” Jarvis said. “It gives them an outlet to see what the military would really be like.”
The plaque is a framed needlework design representing all five branches of the military services. It reads in part: “The Nation which forgets its defenders will itself be forgotten.”
McGee has presented more than 120 plaques in several states to organizations including court houses, churches, Masonic lodges, schools, memorials, museums and even a military base in Italy.
“The skills they are learning in the ROTC will help them, whether they go into the military or not,” Jarvis said. “They’ll learn discipline, how to work as a team and problem solving. It gives this group of kids a program to be a part of. About 10 percent of our population is a part of ROTC.”
The Disabled American Veterans Auxiliary will hold their Americanism program this Saturday at the DAV building, located at 2502 Church Street. The event, which will run from 2 to 4 p.m., will feature a small band, snacks, Reed as the guest speaker and a rifle squad. The DAVA will also honor a World War II WAVE who served with great distinction.