Cadets clean up Picayune
The cadets in the Pearl River Central High School Navy JROTC program are providing essential community services to the city of Picayune.
On Monday, cadets picked up trash on Memorial Boulevard. Last month, the group cleaned up Hwy. 43.
“This month’s road clean up was coordinated with the mowing crew of Picayune,” Senior Naval Science instructor Colonel Todd Ryder said. “We wanted to get the medians and roadsides clear of trash so that the grass could be mowed.”
The Picayune clean up is one of many community service projects the JROTC group is involved in.
They also volunteer at Manna Ministries’ food packaging program. On a smaller scale, cadets present colors and help coordinate the 5K Walk/Run at St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church. They also host two blood drives each semester, coordinate the school’s Toys for Tots event and some cadets volunteer at the animal shelter and Relay for Life.
“Community service has always been an important part of JROTC,” Ryder said. “Our program has really grown in the past three years and each year gains more momentum.”
Fourteen-year-old Doc Herrin is a first year JROTC cadet and said participating in community services makes him feel good.
Jakub Hill is a third year cadet and said that the JROTC program is an organized, citizenship program that is teaching the students how to be leaders.
“This is one of the biggest tourist areas,” Hill said. “There are historical landmarks and cleaning up the city keeps it looking pretty and presentable.”
Fifteen-year-old Cheyenne Ingersoll said she has a great time in JROTC.
“My favorite thing about this group is the motivation.” Ingersoll said. “Helping the community is a great thing to do and it’s fun. Colonel Ryder is a good role model, very helpful and it’s an honor to have him with us.”
Ryder said these cadets are a kind hearted and spirited group of kids that care about their community.
“There’s no doubt that they are the emerging leaders of tomorrow,” Ryder said. “They love their country, community and each other. The true blessing is their cheerful and honest dispositions and their willingness to do anything that helps the community.”
Picayune Mayor Ed Pinero said the city is thankful for all the efforts of the ROTC.
“These individuals are showing their high morals and work ethic by helping improve Picayune and Pearl River County, Pinero said. “This is a great group of young people and they have a very bright future.”