WESTMORELAND COUNTY (KDKA) — Students with the Norwin Air Force JROTC organized a charity walk held Saturday morning to raise funds for the Wounded Warrior Project.
The event coordinators, JROTC Cadet Chief Master Sergeant Victoria Carrick and JROTC Cadet Major Caleb Salvi, organized the Bataan Memorial March to raise money for veterans and honor the soldiers who died during the Bataan Death March in World War II.
The event included both a 3-mile walk and a 14-mile walk. Carrick said the 14-mile walk was mostly for JROTC cadets who wanted to achieve the Bataan Death March Memorial Hike ribbon, and Salvi added that they had more people sign up for the 14-mile walk than they did for the 3-mile walk.
Salvi, a sophomore in high school, said they hope to bring the event back again in the future.
“As a corps, we really want to take a bigger stance in the community,” he said. “We feel it’s our duty to remember our warriors.”
Congressman Tim Murphy also attended and spoke at the event.
“This is an awesome thing, what these kids have done,” Murphy said. “During the year, we think of Memorial Day and Veterans Day as the time to remember the veterans, but here are some students that got together remembering one of the most brutal events in our military history … What’s incredible is these students said, ‘We’re not going to forget it.’ These are ROTC students who are working on leadership and remembering what made America great. We’re really proud of them today.”
In response to the recent allegations that 40 to 50 percent of Wounded Warrior Project funds were being spent on overhead, Congressman Murphy said the organization, just like all charities, should be monitored to guarantee donations are getting to the proper recipient.
“We know a lot of charities start off doing the right thing, but in any case, it has to have an observant eye making sure the funds go to where they’re supposed to be,” Murphy said.
Carrick and Salvi said they decided to donate the funds to Wounded Warrior Project because it’s a well-known organization that potential participants would be familiar with.
Carrick said the event surpassed their goal of raising $5,000 for the Wounded Warrior Project.