Submitted by: LTC (R) Mark Strehle
Photo by: LTC (R) Mark Strehle
On April 27th 2023 the entire Boys Town Army JROTC Cowboy Battalion had its first Formal Award Banquet with the intent not only of recognizing individual achievement, but also collective success with the staff, various teams, and especially Joint Program Accreditation. It was a very successful event. Cadet Major Liz Greene was the Master of Ceremonies, welcoming VIPs, Guests, Donors, Presenters, Staff, Volunteers, and cadets. The Boys Town Protestant Pastor gave the Benediction. The Honors Color Guard posted The Colors, then LTC (Ret.) Strehle made some opening remarks about program activities, events, accomplishments, staff performance, and cadet performance over his first year as Senior Army Instructor. Cadet LTC Jafar Liebers (Newly Elected Mayor of Boys Town for May 2023 through May 2024) directed the head table seated with LTC (Ret.) Michael DeBolt (DAI of the Omaha Public Schools). Cadets greeted all at their assigned tables and ate a five-star meal consisting of Lettuce Salad, Prime Rib of Beef, Fresh Green Beans, Baked Potato, and a Chocolate & Rasberry Mousse created by the Boys Town Culinary Arts Program with renowned Chef Brian Young. The centerpieces were created by cadets in coordination with the Arts program under Ms. Anne Tompsett. Conversation was exchanged, meals were consumed, then awards were presented. Cadets were called by name, award, and presenting organization. At the awards table they shook hands with presenters and accepted their awards. There were 41 awards given out by 18 organizations and donors, with $5,225 given in cash awards through cadet accounts at the Boys Town Credit Union. Special thanks to the family of Harry Van Trees for his many separate and recurring multi-year generous gifts to Boys Town and the cadet corps. Senior cadets earned an additional 30 awards and/or scholarships through Boys Town totaling an approximate value of $504,650. Thank you to the Boys Town staff, family teachers, administrators, and 16 volunteers supporting our formal event. As with all things, the Cowboy Battalion participated fully in the post-formal recovery. Thank-you notes were handwritten and distributed. This event has next year’s cadet staff very excited for the 30th anniversary of U.S. Army JROTC at Boys Town.