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Senior Cadets Visit Wounded Warriors

 

Warm Gratitude – Cadets who carried quilts to Walter Reed are (l-r): Stephanie Savino, Rachel Stone, Joel Magnusson, Ben Cofer, Savanah Jones, Cody Denson, Linda Saroka, Josh Shelton, Ellie George, Gwen Simpson and Rachel Axelson.

Graduating Cadets Carry Quilts to Wounded Warriors

While training to serve as officers in the U.S. Army, ROTC cadets often hear the refrain “Freedom is not free,” notes Savannah Jones, one of 12 fourth year Carson-Newman Eagle Battalion cadets who recently traveled to Washington D.C. The experience, which included delivering handmade quilts to wounded warriors, helped drive home the meaning of the adage along with the understating of what “ a privilege (it is) to lead America’s brave men and women who help keep the country free,” expressed Jones.

The cadets carried with them 16 “Quilts of Valor,” which are made by “the Scrappy Ladies,” a group of women who live in and around the Texas/Arkansas border town of Texarkana. Project manager Betty Lee said group members (Ginger Baxley, LouAnn Brown, Janet Carpenter Ruth Jackson, Debbie James, Sue Murphy, Linda Nelson and Carolyn Sackette) choose a particular charity each year. Each quilt they made for delivery by C-N cadets included a hand stitched message to its new owner, a recuperating serviceman or woman at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

“(It) has meant a great deal to us in knowing we have played a small part in comforting these wonderful, brave defenders of our country,” said Lee. “It was an honor for us to do this. We love them and pray for them; they are our heroes.”

Jones said that she and fellow cadets were “fortunate to spend a humbling afternoon receiving advice from the injured soldiers and their families.” Cadets received a tour of Walter Reed’s innovative facility and saw firsthand the unique care soldiers receive throughout rehabilitation.

“There are no words that can explain seeing someone younger than me in a hospital bed having lost both of his legs in combat, or seeing a triple amputee in a motorized wheelchair, who had a one percent chance of survival when he got to the hospital,” said Eagle Battalion Cadet Commander Stephanie Savino. “These men are just two examples of the many (that) the wounded warrior program is designed to help. You really grasp a new appreciation for your life when you see the optimism in these men.”

Jones said the group also visited Arlington National Cemetery “to pay respect to all those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.”

Cadets who made the trip will be commissioned as second lieutenants in the United States Army on Thursday, May 10, and will graduate the following day.

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