By: Glenda Plunkett American Red Cross
ROCHESTER, MN, September 2, 2007; It takes so many pieces to assemble any puzzle and which is akin to a disaster relief operation. Each piece does their job and when the pieces are totaled up they make a picture, except this picture is one of relief.
One of the pieces of the Minnesota – Wisconsin Flood Disaster Relief Operation is the help of the American Cadet Alliance. The cadets start at age 12 and go through 17 years old. “The cadets are in trained with a military preciseness and are at the disposal of the Red Cross,” said Sergeant Jason Albers.
The nation’s number two man in this program is Lieutenant Colonel Joseph M. Land, Sr., said, “It’s all about the mission for these dedicated youths. This program is about inspiring national pride to others. All people as citizens should step up at some point to help others. We all have an obligation to do something for our nation. When these youths put on that uniform they represent heroes. The decorum they present emulates those heroes.”
The cadets may be assigned to clean up in affected areas, security, traffic control, load or unload trucks, or perimeter containment to name a few. The cadets like the Red Cross are here to help people, communities, and their country. For the first few days in the aftermath of the flood it was their job to keep a tight perimeter for the town of Rushford. Without proper identification no one was allowed to enter the town of Rushford which received extensive damage from the flood.
“The cadets have brought security to the headquarters of the American Red Cross in Rochester, MN. They are mobile and can be plugged into the need as we see it arise. They also helped affected populations clean up their communities. To say that they are useful to us is an understatement,” said Pat Kraemer, Director of the Minnesota – Wisconsin Flood American Red Cross Disaster Relief Operation.
Eight cadets endured long hours, hot weather, mud, and debris to help. This group of cadets included: Sergeant Jason Albers, US Army Cadet Corps; Instructor Jack Rector, American Cadet Alliance; Private Jacob Recht, US Army Cadet Corps; Private Frist Class David Andrzejeski, Minnesota Army National Guard; Private Kazi Tyler Rashid, Minnesota Army National Guard. One of their own, Sgt. Jason Albers, said, “This gives youth an opportunity to decide whether a military life is for them. And as far this group of guys goes, they are a stellar group of people.”
“I have been doing this for about 30 years. I started as a cadet myself. It’s an opportunity to become a part of something bigger than them,” Land said. “I think the partnership with the Red Cross on this mission has been a highly successful one and would like to see an agreement formalized. I would like to see the American Cadet Alliance working with the Red Cross become more of a norm. Hopefully, you will see more of us in the future.”