Drill competition raises $3K veterans’ memorial

By Matt Clevenger

For Miami Valley Today

WEST MILTON — Young Marines from Ohio, Michigan, Illinois and West Virginia gathered at West Milton Municipal Park on Saturday, Sept. 12, marching for charity as part of the Drill Heroes 2: Knockout Drill for a Cause fundraiser.

Sponsored by the Miami Valley Young Marines, the Drill Heroes 2 competition raised a total of $3,000 towards finishing the West Milton Veterans’ Memorial, which still needs several granite markers installed. Participants paid $5 each for a chance to compete, performing military drill for medals and prizes.

“Did you ever play Simon-Says?” Miami Valley Young Marines public affairs officer Raymond Girard said. “It’s kind of like that.”

“It’s called a knockout drill,” Girard said. “Every military person in the world will understand what that means.”

“We have prizes,” he said. “The judges are circling the group trying to catch someone doing the wrong thing.”

Three guest judges, including the 5th Young Marines Division commander and assistant commander and Young Marines national Deputy Director Wilson Lee, visited West Milton specifically for the fundraiser.

Lee traveled from his home office in Washington, D.C.

“The Young Marines have been around since 1959,” he said. “We have about 240 units across the country. We have over 8,000 young marines; our core values are leadership, teamwork and discipline, and we instill a lot of values and moral ethics.”

“The average age is about 14, but we have boys and girls from age eight to seniors in high school,” Lee said. “Half of it is training and education, and the other half is community service. A large amount of that community service is dedicated towards veterans.”

First place winners at the Drill Heroes 2 competition included YM/LCpl Anya McClure, YM/LCpl Matthew Waller, YM/Sgt Emma Marlow, Mrs. Kim Bowling, and YM/GySgt Valencia Martinez. Second-place winners included YM/Pvt Andrew Coffman, YM/Sgt Adam Scheurer, YM/LCpl Shaun Lebbano, Mr. Jay Wheeler and YM Sgt Logan Smith.

Funded by the U.S. Marine Corps, the Miami Valley Young Marines are also sponsored locally by the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department, the Huber Heights Masons, the Huber Heights Military and Veterans’ Commission and Amvets Post 88 in Troy. “We drill at the Amvets,” Girard said. “Charlie Company at Wright Patterson is a big supporter.”

The Miami Valley Young Marines headquarters is located at 6161 Chambersburg Road in Huber Heights. “We cover the entire Miami Valley,” Girard said. “We have our headquarters in Huber Heights, but we have two platoons; one in Huber and one in Troy.”

More information on the Miami Valley Young Marines can be found online, at www.miamivalleyyoungmarines.com or by calling (937) 657-7813.