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They’re everywhere: parades, ballgames, community events and holiday celebrations.
“They” are the members of the Williston High School JROTC honor guard and their fellow cadets, who for the first time in a long time, are finding themselves short on funding.
Capt. Frank Clegg, the group’s commanding officer, recently appeared before Williston City Council to ask council members to remember the JROTC when fundraising efforts come about.
“We do a lot for the city,” Clegg said, naming off the honor guard, the rifle team and the color guards.
The military cutbacks at the federal level has also filtered down the pipe to the local level, Clegg said, and now his cadets are lacking funds needed for their competitions.
Clegg provided a letter from Jim Knauff, the JROTC chief of the 6th Brigade, reminding officers that the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command Fragmentary Order (TRADOC FRAGO), issued last March, prohibits Army money being used for competitions.
“You can still conduct competitions at the local level,” Knauff wrote, “but must be fully funded from non-Army sources, like school funds, fundraising etc.”
Clegg told the council that the JROTC would not be parking cars at the July 3 celebration at Horseman’s Park, saying the chamber had selected another group to do that duty.
“We usually make about $1,000,” Clegg said, adding the loss is a big hit to their budget. Mary Kline, executive director for the Chamber of Commerce, said last week the chamber wanted to allow other non-profits the same opportunity to make money, which is why it went to the cowboy church this year.
“Unlike football or baseball, we don’t have a booster club,” Clegg told council members. “I’m the booster club–my sergeant is the booster club.”
The JROTC budget is usually $5,000, the captain said. Aside from the money from Pre-4th parking, the group also nets about $1,300 from Levy County Fair parking and receives about $500 from the Williston Shooters Club.
Williston Council President Jason Cason told Clegg the council has nothing to do with the decision the chamber directors made.
He also suggested that Clegg speak to the area’s veterans’ groups about donations and fundraisers to make up the shortfall.