By Maureen Robertson
When two Mountain Valley Academy students from Ramona Community School held up an oversized check for $2,450 at a recent school board meeting, the audience responded with “Wow,” “Nice,” whistles and applause.
The money, raised by the school’s Associated Student Body, goes to the Warrior Foundation for servicemen and women injured physically and-or emotionally in Iraq or Afghanistan.
Ramona resident Evelyn McCormick, Warrior Foundation Freedom Station Board member, was at the Ramona Unified School District Board meeting to accept the check from the school’s ASB president, Emily Rajcic, and ASB members Alex La Rosa and Dylan Loftis. With the students was teacher and ASB adviser Larry Hofer.
“We have 21 students, and they have made a very valiant effort to honor and support our military heroes,” said Hofer.
For the past five years, the students have held fundraisers, but they had a dilemma, Hofer said: To what worthy cause would they give the money?
“Then we read a mission statement,” he said, and “when we heard this mission statement, our focus became the Warrior Foundation.”
The mission “is to assist, honor and support the military men and women/service members/personnel who have so bravely served and sacrificed for their country. We further vow to help the seriously injured who are assigned to Naval Regional Medical Center, Camp Pendleton Naval Hospital, 29 Palms and Fort Irwin as well as those who are going through rehabilitation in the San Diego area.”
The $2,450 is half of the money ASB had raised in the past five years along with money from selling 175 holiday trees in late 2011 and donations they received from the Ramona Veterans of Foreign Wars Post, Ramona Rotary Club and RUSD Superintendent Robert Graeff.
“Along with our fundraising, we sent students down to the Naval Regional Medical Center and we helped to decorate the barracks there for Christmas,” Hofer said.
“I just want you to know how much this is appreciated,” said McCormick.
Her voice cracking with emotion, McCormick explained that “from Warrior Foundation, we developed Freedom Station. It’s transitional housing for our warriors that will be medically discharged. If you could just see how they care for each other.”
She encouraged everyone to “keep remembering them. They need us to always be their advocates. I really believe that they are going to be the century’s greatest generation.”
“They humble me,” she said. “Every time I see them and work with them, I think, I have no complaints in life...Thank you so much for thinking of them. They are really really wonderful people.”
Information about upcoming fundraisers and events is on the web at warrior foundation.com and freedom station.org, McCormick said.