Members of the Denton High School Air Force Junior ROTC are giving area residents an opportunity to say thank you to members of the Greatest Generation.
Students will be collecting donations from Nov. 1-15 to fund trips for two North Texas World War II veterans to the National World War II Memorial and other historic sites in Washington, D.C.
The donations will go to Honor Flight DFW, a nonprofit organization that takes veterans to the nation’s capital to visit memorials and meet with other veterans.
ROTC members will be collecting change in ammo boxes placed in various campus locations, and the cadets are encouraging not only their fellow students to contribute, but also seeking support from the community.
It’s a worthwhile project and one that should provide the veterans with a truly memorable trip.
Marvin Cardona, a Denton High senior who is group commander for the school’s Air Force Junior ROTC and oversees the cadet corps, told us that discussions about the fundraising effort began during the summer, and the cadets rallied behind the idea.
The group’s initial goal was to raise $1,000 to send one North Texas veteran to Washington, and the students soon surpassed their goal and decided to send two veterans on the trip.
Their new goal is to collect at least $2,000 to fund a Washington trip for Tom Carlisle, a World War II Merchant Marine veteran, and Bennie “Gabe” Snider, who graduated early from Denton High to enlist in the Navy in 1944.
Each $1,000 pays for airfare, hotel accommodations, chartered bus fare, meals, uniforms, souvenir videos and a reunion event for the veteran upon returning.
Support received for the cause has been touching, said Hector Delgado, a Denton High senior and deputy group commander for the Air Force Junior ROTC. Cardona added that it’s been amazing to see people’s generosity in donating to someone they’ve never met.
A check presentation for the trips and recognition of the two veterans being sponsored is slated for halftime ceremonies on Senior Night, Nov. 9, during Denton High’s football game with Trophy Club Byron Nelson High School at Bronco Field.
We were impressed by the students’ project, and we aren’t alone. Melaine “Tudy” Giordano, president of Honor Flight DFW, termed the Denton High cadets’ efforts as “unbelievable.”
“We’ve had schools raise money before but not an ROTC group,” she said. “When they [the veterans] hear ROTC, it will mean a great deal to them.
“I’m in awe of the generosity of these kids,” she said. “That’s something else. The old warriors will be very appreciative.”
The veterans are in their 80s and 90s, and the trip means a lot to them, Giordano told us.
Through the DFW hub, Honor Flight has taken about 350 veterans to Washington, Giordano said — and that includes three trips this year that took a total of 125 veterans ages 84 to 99. Trips are taken in the spring and fall, with six trips slated for 2013.
The fact that students are raising the funds is important to the veterans, Giordano said.
“That means the world to them to know they’re not forgotten by the younger generation.”
We salute the ROTC cadets for their efforts, and we thank all of those who have made a donation. It’s a good way to show these veterans that their service and sacrifices will never be forgotten.
For more information, call 940-369-2142 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.