Zach Wagner | Collegio Reporter
ROTC student cadets promoted their Gorilla Warfare day during Pitt State’s faceoff against Missouri Southern on Saturday by holding several fundraising activities at Carnie Smith Stadium.
“This year’s Gorilla Warfare day as a whole went just as well as last year’s,” Senior Cadet Jesse West said. “However, for myself and the other seniors, escorting the football team into the stadium before the game started definitely made the experience more fulfilling.”
As hundreds of Pitt State fans crowded behind the stadium, students gathered around tables set up by the cadets.
“It’s pretty cool to see some of the guys I know in ROTC put together something that gets a little bit of attention from everyone who isn’t familiar with the program,” freshman biology major Gunnar Youngquist said. “From the canned food drive to seeing the kids get their faces painted, they seem to enjoy the difference they’re trying to make today.”
Freshman cadets who participated in Gorilla Warfare said they enjoyed the event as well.
“While having my own face painted, I saw about 10 other kids at least come up to the table looking to get their faces painted as well,” freshman cadet Boone Myers said. “The excitement I see come from those kids really makes the event worthwhile.”
This was ROTC’s second annual Gorilla Warfare day.
“Originally we wanted to come up with a day that would give back to our college and community, while at the same time promoting ROTC,” Capt. Drew Polen said. “After Capt. Josh Shay, Lt. Col. Dan Stoner and myself put together Gorilla Warfare last year, we had high expectations for this year’s event.”
But support for Gorilla Warfare could be seen on the field as well as off. According to Polen, Gorilla football head coach Tim Beck has enthusiastically supported Gorilla Warfare by having the team suit up in customized jerseys as a tribute to the armed services. Along with the jerseys, two combat Humvees were parked on the surrounding track.
“It really is a big part for the entire day,” Polen said. “When fans see those two parked Humvees and the design of the jerseys, it draws more attention towards our whole event.”
The jerseys were auctioned off after the game, with proceeds going toward the various fundraisers that ROTC participates in.
In addition, a $2,000 check from Community National Bank was presented to Maj. Christopher Lambert during the game’s first quarter. The money will go to the Wounded Warrior Project, a nonprofit organization that helps wounded veterans. Lambert says that along with the check, ROTC has worked with other businesses such as Jocks Nitch to raise money for the foundation through the sales of T-shirts.
Community National Bank also held a lunch for ROTC members and their families.
In addition, ROTC held a canned food drive for Wesley House, an organization that helps poor families.
But the spotlight was on one particular cadet at halftime. Junior Cadet Lucian Myers was presented a medal of heroism for his actions during the May 22 Joplin tornado.
“It’s definitely a humbling award,” Myers said. “It’s a great honor to be presented with this today as a part of Gorilla Warfare.”