The American Legion is a strong supporter of the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) program across the country.
In support of one of its pillar programs, Children and Youth, Fred Brock Post 828, in partnership with H-E-B Operation Appreciation, and with cooperation with Footlocker, provided new shoes to 30 JROTC cadets and 20 students from Sam Houston, Highlands, and Breckenridge High Schools during its Project Shoes event held at Footlocker (Walzem location).
Students, who were accompanied by their parent(s), had a $100 budget to purchase new sneakers along with any other item in the store. Additionally, they enjoyed snacks provided by Footlocker staff.
“It means the world to the cadets and their family as well to know that there are organizations like The American Legion which is looking out for their well-being and keeping their best interest at heart,” said retired Army Col. Christopher Wynder, the senior military instructor at Highlands High School. “There is a need that each student has, and we thank Fred Brock Post 828 for creating this initiative. It is a very thoughtful one and we appreciate the support.”
Wynder, a member of Fred Brock Post 828, knows that his cadets were appreciative of Project Shoes.
“I could see the look in their eyes of sincere gratitude,” said Wynder, a native of Hampton, Virginia. “They didn’t have to say any words. Additionally, the parents and guardians who found out they were invited to this event were grateful and appreciative as well.”
Dakari Bailey, a sophomore attending Sam Houston High School, was happy to have been selected.
“This was a great opportunity because I am starting track and only have basketball shoes, which is not acceptable,” said Bailey, who joined JROTC with the goal of joining the military after graduation. “Not everyone may have the money to buy specific types of athletic shoes.”
Desarea Zuniga, a junior at Breckenridge High School said she and her fellow cadets were happy to be gifted new shoes.
“As we go through the school year, we continue to grow and need new shoes annually,” said Zuniga, who serves as the JROTC battalion commander.
According to Jerry Johnson of H-E-B, who attended the 2023 Project Shoes event, it is important for the community to know that H-E-B does more than just sell groceries.