U. S. Army Colonel James Runyon addressed the Logan County Board of Education on behalf of Maj. Gen. James Hoyer and the more than 6,000 West Virginia National Guard Members.
Col. Runyon says he was a Mingo County boy and a product of Mingo County Schools. He served as commander of the unit at Monaville for about 18 months.
A packet of information was presented to the board members to discuss the Junior ROTC program coming back to Logan County Schools. Col. Runyon told the board why it is important for the National Guard to help the program succeed.
“As the National Guard, these communities are our communities. These students are our sons and daughters. They are our future. That’s why my boss, Maj. Gen. Hoyer, and I are committed to helping you be successful if, in fact, the board chooses to pursue this.”
Junior ROTC is to motivate young people be better citizens. There is an organization called the Charter Education Partnership, which looks across the nation and identifies programs that build character, higher self-esteem, less violence, less absenteeism in school, higher achievement scores and academic performance and they have found Junior ROTC as one of these programs.
Runyon went on to tell the board that cadets learn life-long leadership skills, reading, writing and personal finance management. Cadets who have participated in the program all four years and chose to enter the military could go in as a private first class, which is equivalent to two promotions. Those who choose to go on to college would have opportunities to apply for scholarships.
Logan County would have a battalion and each school would have a company. The minimum number of students for all three schools is 100 students or 10 percent of the student population.
Two instructors are required for the program, one commissioned officer and one non-commissioned officer, both of whom are retired. The board of education would make up the difference between their retirement and active-duty pay.
The National Guard will assist with start-up costs, locating staff and later will assist with uniforms and demilitarized rifles.
The board will address the issue at the next meeting, which will be held February 28 at 5 p.m.