Despite challenges, ROTC continues ongoing community service projects


Photo courtesy of Gary Strozewski

ROTC sponsors Lt. Col. Jim Smith, Mst. Sgt. Matt Zahradka, and their students raise a new flag for the Mobile On The Run gas located at 14807 Manchester Road in Ballwin.

Hannah Fitts, Staff Reporter

While COVID-19 restrictions have made it challenging to carry out many of the normal activities Lafayette organizations once participated in, the community still has the same, if not greater needs and the Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFJROTC) is making sure it is still doing its part to serve.

Freshman Cadet Vedika Kumar recently planned special a special community service project to benefit the St. Louis Diaper Bank

As an effort to support mothers who cannot afford to purchase diapers, on Jan. 19, ROTC members sorted and wrapped hundreds of packs of diapers to be distributed.

Overall I think the event was an overall success. The organizers were very appreciative of the help and we have a tentative plan to continue going there at least once or twice a month,” Kumar said. 

Another new service event ROTC has recently taken part in this year was the “Show Me Your Colors” Campaign.

The “Show Me Your Colors” Campaign was developed in order to replace and properly dispose of worn American flags within the community. The campaign collected unserviceable (tattered, torn, worn or faded) flags flying over our community and offered their services to raise a brand new flag. 

The plan was simple: pre-identify businesses in the local area that are currently flying weathered, tattered, worn, and/or otherwise unserviceable flags. Approach the business, tactfully, while presenting a business card from The MO-81st and explain the charter of creating citizens of character through community service. Determine if the business is interested in purchasing the replacement flag and allowing ROTC to raise the colors for them.

Event coordinator Cadet Captain junior Gary Strozewski said, “I love to see our community shine with new flags and be able to help them honor America in an even better way. I also enjoy seeing other fellow cadets getting out and participating and making change for a good cause. This campaign shines light on an important aspect of ROTC, service before self, and this campaign gives hope to many from who I have spoken with about these.”