Overmountain cadets receive rank

Published 8:34 am Thursday, March 9, 2017

Photo Courtesy of Scott Whitmire
County and city students part of the Overmountain East Tennessee Cadet Corps received their ranks during a special ceremony held at the American Legion Post in Elizabethton Tuesday.

Hard work recently paid off for a selected group of high school students from Carter County and Elizabethton.

The Overmountain East Tennessee Cadet Corps held a special rank and promotional ceremony Tuesday night at the American Legion Post in Elizabethton to honor the time and effort put in by members.

“For our city students, this was their first time taking part in this ceremony,” Scott Whitmire, Elizabethton High School SRO and founder of the corps, said. “It was an opportunity for our students to receive their very first rank. I definitely want to thank the American Legion for the continued support of the program and for what they do in our community.”

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While city students took part in their first ever experience, it was the third annual event for county youth involved.

The ceremony is used as a way to promote the students for their work with different projects and promote the students that take charge with a servant attitude and are willing to get the job done, according to Whitmire.

“The program has really started to take off over the past couple of months,” Whitmire said. “It’s an after-school program that’s volunteer based and allows the students to take charge by coming up with ideas to help better the community around them.”

During its first year at the Elizabethton High School, the program allowed students to go to Gatlinburg in November of last year to assist with maintenance of the area following a strand of wildfires that devastated the area.

Recently, the Cadets visited Roan Mountain State Park and were able to perform a half-mile of trail maintenance on Forest Road in two hours, which RMSP Ranger Keifer Helle stated would normally take two people around 16-20 hours to complete.

“I talked with J.R. (Tinch), park manager, and he was saying that there’s over a million people during the year that visit the park,” Whitmire said. “When the students hear that, they know their work is being appreciated and they’re able to take a sense of pride in what they are doing.”

Students looking to get involved with the EHS group can speak to Whitmire during school hours. Whitmire encourages county students that want to get involved to speak with their after-school director or get in contact with a Cadet for more information.