Mission accomplished: North JROTC delivers to those in need

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By Kelly Cantrall

Members of North Hardin High School’s Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps had an important mission Friday — to make Christmas a little more special for families in the community.
Despite icy conditions that closed school for the day, North Hardin JROTC and members of the Kentucky National Guard delivered 50 boxes of food to needy families in the Radcliff area.
This is the 18th year the JROTC program has distributed boxes of food. Retired Sgt. Maj. Paul Gray and volunteer Esta Pigg started the effort.
Cadets met Friday morning to discuss plans for the day, then headed to Walmart to pick up turkeys, pies and boxes of stuffing. The cadets also held a canned food drive, and Pigg collects food, too. They gathered about 5,000 cans this year.
Senior Shelbi Shots helped map regions where each group of students and Guard members were to deliver boxes. Shots said the close-knit nature of the JROTC unit helps them accomplish projects like this.
“I like working with it because it’s a very structured program,” Shots said.
Chris Mathews, a JROTC instructor, said the project helps families, but also serves as a lesson for students. They get to use some of the leadership skills they’ve learned in the classroom because they run the project.
Sgt. 1st Class Ricky Clemenz of the Kentucky National Guard has worked with the program for four years. Clemenz said he enjoys the work because it builds the character of the student and it benefits the community.
“You can’t tell me anything’s wrong with this program,” Clemenz said.
The families that receive boxes are chosen by the Family Resource Centers at North Hardin and the elementary and middle schools that feed into the high school, said Tamara McPherson, FRC coordinator at North.
Pigg continues to work with the program every year.
“The cadets work so hard with this and it’s such a wonderful program,” she said.
Kelly Cantrall can be reached at (270) 505-1747 or at kcantrall@thenewsenterprise.com