Air Force Lt. Col. Eric Kelly, the school’s ROTC teacher, got the idea to help the museum when one of his cadets discovered they had a need for some strong backs.
“I’m the youngest person here and I’m 47, so if I can’t get it done, it basically doesn’t happen,”
- Scott Farb, director of Museum of the Waxhaw.
It all began when Cadet 2nd Lt. Jack Steele, who lives in Waxhaw, told Farb that his school’s Jr. ROTC students needed some community service hours. “He asked if I had any projects, and I was thrilled to hear that,” Farb said. “We usually rely on Scout Troops, but a lot of them are younger and can’t do some of the things that we need to do.”
First order of business — clean out a 40-foot trailer on museum grounds that was filled with furniture, props and costumes used in the play “Listen and Remember,” which has not been performed in several years. Farb said the trailer had to be emptied before it could be discarded.
Students also picked up trash that had accumulated around the museum grounds over the winter. “This not only makes the grounds look better, but it also shows that there are still people who want to help,” said Cadet Nicholas Scott, 17.
Farb said another project given to cadets was disassembling the Waxhaw Indian Meeting House, which blew down in a windstorm over the winter. Once taken down, museum officials will be able to rebuild the structure, hopefully in the near future.
Air Force Senior Master Sergeant Tony Reid, also an ROTC teacher at Parkwood, said every school’s Jr. ROTC unit sets goals for community service each year. “Based on how well you meet the goals determines whether or not you earn the designation of distinguished unit,” he said. “It’s a year-long goal. We do these projects after school, on the weekends and on teacher workdays.”
About 20 of Parkwood High’s 52 Jr. ROTC cadets took on the challenge, working throughout the day at the museum. The student’s “workday” was held on a teacher workday.
Helping out is part of the philosophy of the Jr. ROTC program. The classes are more about character building. “Our core values are integrity first, service before self and excellence in all we do,” he said.