Elder Panthers supporting our troops

Many students are involved in different activities around Elder. With a number of varsity sports, clubs, and organization there are many way to get involved. But perhaps the most important club is one of the newest—the Support our Troops club. The origins of the Support our Troops club date back to 2008, when Elder students Matt Brannon and Ben Combs became involved with aiding Elder grads who were serving overseas. Brannon and Combs spent their senior years packaging and sending care packages; however, after the duo graduated, there was nobody to take their place sending aid to Elder grads. Last school year, the Support our Troops club was reinstated when Brannon decided to make a call to Elder High School. According to Mr. Bill in the alumni office, Brannon felt the need for the Support our Troops club to be continued for all the Panthers serving in the military. One day in the fall of 2011, Brannon called up to suggest the creation of a Support our Troops club—on this day the club was born. Last year—the Support our Troops club helped over 16 soldiers—15 of which were Elder grads (the other being a Moeller grad). The money for the care packages was raised both through Theme Days and the sale of “Panther Strong” wrist bands. Timothy Bill, uncle of sophomore Nick Bill, sent a thank you letter for the care package he received last year. Here is an excerpt: I want to thank the young men of Elder, the alumni, staff, and the entire Elder family for their support this holiday season. Like many soldiers I am happy to be deployed and doing the job I volunteered to do. However, it is never easy to leave your home, your family, or your friends, especially for the duration of an entire year. A sentiment felt most keenly during the holidays. Times that normally abound with family gatherings and cheerful parties, but when deployed, it is just another day at work. However, it was especially uplifting to receive a package from the place I credit with instilling the beliefs in duty, loyalty, and selfless service which was instrumental in leading me to my military career. While the Support our Troops club obviously had much success last year, Mr. Bill explained how that success has gained even more momentum going into this school year. A little over 30 kids have already signed up for the club which is quite an impressive number. With such a big turnout, the club had to be split into four committees this year. First, the Shopping Committee is in charge of buying and deciding what goes into each care package. Some of the things the shopping committee will be buying range from DVDs to razors to pop tarts. Next, the Theme Day Committee is responsible for of setting up a date for which would the proceeds would benefit the club. Members of this committee are also responsible for collecting money on the Theme Day. Members of the wrist band committee will be selling wristbands at lunch and before school. Again, all proceeds will go towards buying supplies to put into each care package. Finally, the Future Events Committee, true to its name, is in charge of planning all future events. Junior Jonathan Rieter, who is serving on the Shopping Committee, joined the club for a number of reasons. “Most importantly,” Rieter explains, “I wanted to support the troops that attended Elder and [who] protect our freedom on a daily basis.” In order for this newly formed club to be successful, we need Panthers to stay involved. Matthew Brannon had this to say about involvement: “ While this club is an Elder club, we wouldn’t be men of Elder if we weren’t willing to help as many people as we are able to. However, to be able to help our fellow alumni and friends, we need the help of the Elder students and community. It is through the students that we are able to raise the money to send these packages. It is up to the Elder community to support our effort and give us the information that we need in order to help our alumni.”