Mariner High School JROTC Cadets Respond to Hurricane Ian

Mariner High School JROTC Cadets Respond to Hurricane Ian
Posted on 10/28/2022
Mariner High School JROTC Cadets Respond to Hurricane Ian

The day after Hurricane Ian hit, JROTC cadets at Mariner High School jumped into action. They were going door to door, checking on their neighbors.

“I was not able to sit at home knowing that outside there were people who needed help,” says Mariner’s JROTC Brigade Chief of Staff Lt. Col. Elena Cardenas-Cruz. “After the first event I attended I felt so happy that I was able to help people. From that day forward, every event opportunity, I wanted to help organize and participate. Nothing compares to serving others!”

While not alone in their efforts to help, the cadets kept on working. The next day there were out cleaning up the home of a fellow cadet. Then it was the home of an instructor. What started as simply an emergency response became an organized effort. They spent two mornings cleaning up their school. Another group assembled and distributed hot lunches for the utility repair crews and EMS units staging in their parking lot and for families in a nearby neighborhood. Cadets even delivered humanitarian assistance supplies to Pine Island and participated in evacuating residents by boat.

“The JROTC mission is 'to motivate young people to be better citizens,’” says JROTC Senior Army Instructor at Mariner Maj. Bryan Williams. “The aftermath of hurricane Ian was an ideal scenario for our young Cadet leaders to take charge and help our community. They sought out organizations to partner with and in some cases even made their own Community assistance teams to help out in neighborhoods or with fellow cadets. This truly modeled exactly what leadership education curriculum is all about - motivating young people to be better citizens.”

Before returning to school, more than 50 JROTC cadets had participated in a dozen organized relief events. About ten of the cadets were at every single one.

“The most important component of Mariner JROTC's community service efforts is the fact that they were Cadet-led,” Major Williams says. “Our students took some initial guidance and ran with it!”

The effort didn’t stop because school started. Juniors and seniors developed an accountability roster and identified students in their ranks that were displaced or still had critical needs, and then worked toward getting them extra support.

“Helping our community is always a goal, says JROTC Brigade Commander Col. Tenille Perez. “Knowing that the hurricane caused so much ruin motivated us to help.”