Floyd Central, NAHS students lend a hand Print

Five buses from the NAFC school corporation rolled into the parking lot of Pekin United Methodist Church on April 11 packed to the brim with JROTC students from both New Albany and Floyd Central High School. But these teenagers weren’t in town to sightsee, they came to perform clean-up duties for residents who had sustained property damage during last month’s tornadoes.

The cadets spent the day along Trainer Lane and Hurst Road tasked with the tedious job of picking up bits of debris that were still littered across neighboring property. Farmers need all of this debris picked out of their fields before they can be properly begin to prepare the ground for planting season.
“They’ll only be here for two or three hours, but they’ll get a lot of work done,” Meredith Peters said of the incoming students, 136 in number. Peters is a retired teacher who has been spending some of  his time helping to coordinate disaster relief efforts in Pekin. He talks to groups eager to volunteer and connects them with victims in the area who could use a hand. “It’s been such a great outpouring of volunteers that I’ve had to turn people away,” he said.
Peters said that students from the schools got involved last month when he was approached by retired Lieutenant Colonel Ben Gipe about bringing some of his Floyd Central students out to help for a day. “They were suppose to go on a field trip to Fort Knox on March 14, but they decided to come out here and work instead,” explained Lt. Col. Gipe, senior naval science instructor of Floyd Central’s Navy JROTC program.
The cadets enjoyed pitching in so much that Gipe got permission to take this second trip back to Pekin. Not only did they bring members from athletic rival New Albany High School’s JROTC program with them this time, but they also brought along a generous donation of $650 to go towards helping storm victims even further. “We had a fundraiser at the Yellow Cactus up in Paoli Pike,” Gipe said, “it was for the JROTC. Then the tornadoes hit and the kids decided they wanted the funds to go to the tornado victims. I think that’s really cool.”
Gipe wasn’t the only one excited about these opportunities to lend a hand in trying times. Cadet Commander Marissa Samoas also had a keen passion for helping others in need. “By coming out here, we’re showing that we care,” the 17 year old Floyd Central student said. She was grateful to school administration for allowing them to take another work day. But Samoas did have one negative remark to make about the trip: “I’m upset its so short of a day, its fun...the best part is just being out here, helping people out.”


Last Updated on Wednesday, 18 April 2012 08:03