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JROTC course opens
High school cadets have place to practice
5 JROTC pic
Cadets help each other over a wall that is part of a new training course for the high school JROTC. - photo by David Renner Dawson Community News

Dawson County High School is now home to a competition-level training course for its JROTC cadets.

Completed two weeks ago, the dedication ceremony and ribbon cutting for the new course was held on Aug. 29.

The obstacle course, which consists of a wall, over-under weaving tower and rope bridge, came to fruition thanks to support from local community groups and Home Depot.

"The manager of the Dawson County Home Depot happened to be on campus one day while we were discussing various projects," said JROTC instructor Sgt. Steve Pamplin.

"We talked to him and he got us in touch with the Home Depot Foundation. After that, we got ahold of other community members like Etowah Water and the Vietnam Veterans of America to supply the labor for it."

Dennis Johnson, a Team Depot captain from Home Depot, said the business was always looking for ways to "give back to the community."

"We got involved with the school and the JROTC and we turned in the proposal packet to corporate for funding," Johnson said. "Right now they are trying to lean more towards veterans' aid, so this fit in great. Our store was given the approval and we were able to supply all the materials for it."

Pamplin said he hopes that the course will help prepare the cadets better for competitions.

"Originally, we would go to competitions at other schools and our kids had no way to practice," he said.

"Now they can practice on our stuff, go to the meets and do well. We wanted something to help the kids with team building and confidence and everything came together."

Cadet Master Sgt. Justin Chumbley said that before the course, the cadets had nothing to practice on and had to improvise uses for already-existing school facilities.

"We didn't have anything set up to use beforehand. We used the cross country track, had some pull up bars, but nothing like this," he said.

"This is better training. It helps us prepare for competition obstacle courses. If you are physically fit, this is easy. It's a good course."

Pamplin was thankful to the community for the support in funding and building the new course.

"We've got a nice area for the kids to practice on," he said.

"Hopefully we can hold a competition here in the next year or so instead of having to travel and use other schools'."