Korean MemorialKorean War & Korea Defense Service Veterans, Lake Co. (FL), Chapter 169

Leesburg High School ROTC program recognized by local veteran's group

by LARRY ELL, Staff Writer, The Daily Commercial, Leesburg, FL, June 8, 2010, pg. 2.

LEESBURG — As the 60th anniversary of America's entry into the Korean War approaches, a local veterans group honored the occasion by helping members of a young military organization.

The Korean War Veterans Association of Lake County, Chapter 169, made a $500 donation to the Leesburg High School Air Force Reserve Officers Training Corps. According to the KWVA, the contribution is in recognition of the many ROTC achievements from the past year.

Leesbugr High School AF ROTC Scholarship Award 2010Ted Jansen, KWVA Treasurer; Chief Master Sergeant Daniel Dixon; Jr. Cadet Lt. Col. Michael Kissner; Cadet 2nd Lt Nicholas Schwarz, Master Sergeant Craig Morris, and Tom Thiel, KWVA Chapter President.

"We have recognized Leesburg's program in the past," said chapter president Tom Thiel. "Certainly, their record stands out very well in terms of competition with other drill teams and also their leadership is excellent."

The donation will go into the AFROTC unit's general fund and will help support all 200 members of the Leesburg High program by adding to the resources available for academics, field trips or drill-team competitions.

Thiel said the Yellow Jackets AFROTC drill team is the second oldest in the nation and consistently ranks among the Top 10 in the nation. It also has received the Distinguished Unit Citation with Merit for the past five years in a row.

Cadet Lt. Col. Michael Kissner and Cadet 2nd Lt Nicholas Schwarz with some of their trophies.Cadet Lt. Col. Michael Kissner and Cadet 2nd Lt Nicholas Schwarz with some of their trophies.

While the local Korean War vets have supported programs from both Leesburg and Eustis High in the past, the lean economy has limited their ability to do so consistently. However, they're pleased to be able to resume their benevolence.

"We've been doing better on membership and raising funds than we have in the past, so we had some monies available and that's why we did it this year," Thiel said.

Even though the purpose of ROTC isn't to recruit members for the American military, the solid citizenship virtues taught in the program are worthy of his group's attention, said Thiel.

"Veterans all have something in common and it's important to make the public aware of the issues that are important to veterans and GI's," he said.

Chapter 169 meets at 2 p.m. every fourth Wednesday at the Leesburg Senior Center, 1211 Penn St. The chapter has nearly 60 members.