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Todd Beamer JROTC cadets connect with seniors and veterans through community service
Retired veterans in Federal Way recently went back to boot camp.
Their mission? Learning to use a cellphone. Their instructors? Teenagers.
Last month, Todd Beamer High School Air Force JROTC cadets tutored residents at Village Green Retirement Campus about the bells and whistles on today's tech gadgets. Some residents, for example, wanted to learn how to send a text message to their grandchildren.
Village Green has 187 residents who appreciate the intergenerational mingling with the cadets. The military connection also runs deep.
"Almost all of the men who live here served in one capacity or another," said Kimberly Vickers, executive director, who praised the partnership with the cadets: "They're so forward thinking and worldly."
In the coming months, the cadets will show the Village Green residents how to use laptop computers, desktop computers, and tablet devices like the iPad.
Maj. Barry Jones, senior aerospace science instructor at Todd Beamer, keeps his cadets active in the community. The cadets participate in color guard ceremonies, drill competitions and food drives. They read to elementary school students and volunteer with Habitat for Humanity. One visible project includes the roundabout on the road leading into Todd Beamer High School.
Last year, the cadets contributed 4,200 hours of service, Jones said. This year, the program has 145 students who are learning to create and achieve goals.
Jones has led the program since its inception eight years ago.
"It's cool to feel like there's somebody out there who appreciates what we do," he said.
JROTC cadets from Todd Beamer and Federal Way high schools will participate in the annual Honoring Our Own event, which begins at noon Nov. 12 at Todd Beamer High School.