By Aurora Robinson
On Tuesday night, NJROTC went out to Riverview and Mark Elrod Towers to visit senior citizens and spread the Christmas spirit.
One of the cadets from NJROTC shared the events that occurred that evening and why they go out and carry out this community service act.
“We do this every year. We go and we visit the retirement homes and show everyone that is in the retirement homes that, you know, people haven’t forgotten about them and we spend the holidays with them and let them realize that … there are other people out there that do care,” said senior Jenna Nicholas.
When the cadets went out to spend time with the elderly, they helped them with Christmas activities and with the treats they were serving that evening.
“Basically we get the kids to go in there and help them play bingo, get some cookies, serve some drinks, and then do some caroling, but mainly interact with the older folks,” said naval science instructor Michael Beal.
This community service opportunity lead by the NJROTC program gathered many of the cadets to come out and spend time with the senior citizens for several different reasons.
“I chose to come because I like doing stuff like this. It makes me feel better as a person. I also like spending time with older people because they have a lot of stories to tell and they have a lot of insight on things,” said sophomore Jackie Copple.
Some of the NJROTC participants remembered a few of the senior citizens from previous visits. Particularly, there was a friendly older lady at Riverview Towers who was very excited to see them and interact with them again.
“She is a feisty lady who loves to interact with the cadets and she just gives hugs and wants to dance with them. I look forward to that probably more each year than anything else,” said Beal.
As the students were gathered in Galena for their own Christmas get together with treats and hot chocolate, some of them shared who they were able to meet and chat to.
“Tonight, I was sitting near two Vietnam Marine Corps veterans. One was a woman, the other was a man. Which it’s pretty rare to find a female Marine from that timeframe. So, it was pretty awesome to get to sit down and talk with her and just learn how much the Marine Corps has progressed with women so far,” said senior Jack Gill.
As the cadets were socializing and sharing their experiences, some were also sharing their favorite moments from their evening spent with the older folks.
“A lot of the senior citizens were really appreciative of us coming out and stuff. It made me happy to see them all smiling and everything. It was really nice,” said senior Raye Perry.
As the NJROTC program wrapped up their holiday celebration, some gave advice for those who have families during the holiday season.
“Just give,” said Beal. “Give and you will get back an enormous amount, especially during the holidays. If you have elderly parents, make sure you visit with them, make sure you touch them, make sure you kiss them and hug them because that is all they want for Christmas.”
Sophomore Diem Tran smiles with her sugar cookie as everyone chats, spends time with each other, and participates in holiday themed games. Photo by Aurora Robinson.
NJROTC cadets dig into the treats and hot chocolate brought in for their Christmas get together at Galena after their visit with the senior citizens at Riverview Towers and Mark Elrod Towers. Photo by Aurora Robinson.
NJROTC cadets prepare the senior citizens for their Christmas themed game of bingo. The cadets help them get their boards set up to play and they listen and play with them. As each senior citizen won a game of bingo, they received a red rose as their prize. Photo by Aurora Robinson.
Sophomore Autumn Meadows, senior Alex Voyles, and junior Cameron Croninger pose together with one of the senior citizens in front of them, stretching her arms out between the three cadets. Photo by Aurora Robinson.
The NJROTC cadets pose for their photos with Santa Claus. Photo by Aurora Robinson.
A senior citizen presents a joyful smile as she poses with junior Cameron Croninger to get their picture taken during the visit. Photo by Aurora Robinson.
As senior Alex Voyles and sophomore Autumn Meadows lead The Twelve Days of Christmas, junior Cameron Croninger acts out the description of each day in the song. He is holding up five fingers to represent the five golden rings on the fifth day of Christmas. Photo by Aurora Robinson.
On Tuesday night, senior Alex Voyles and sophomore Autumn Meadows lead the other NJROTC cadets in singing Christmas carols to a group of senior citizens at Riverview Towers in downtown New Albany. Photo by Aurora Robinson.