Student recognized with national Junior ROTC award
A Wareham High School senior, Cadet Lieutenant Colonel Keegan Cahill, became one of just 53 Junior ROTC cadets across the globe to be awarded the Legion of Valor with Bronze Cross for Achievement.
The Legion of Valor award is presented to individuals who have excelled academically, completed many hours of community service, displayed dependability and good character and demonstrated exceptional leadership. Cahill was selected out of a group of more than 553,000 cadets in JROTC programs worldwide.
He accepted the award on Tuesday in a small outdoor ceremony at the high school.
Cahill said he’d been interested in the military his whole life and that JROTC was a huge influence on him.
“I think JROTC has done its job of making me a better citizen and a better leader, definitely,” Cahill said. “It’s been a great four years. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”
Cahill joined JROTC as a freshman, and as a sophomore he became the battalion command sergeant major, which is the senior enlisted person in JROTC. Cahill has been a JROTC commander since his junior year.
“He impressed us from the get-go,” said Matt Stanton, the director of Wareham’s JROTC program and a teacher at the high school. “He had some very set goals in mind and there was nothing that was going to stop him from achieving those goals.”
It was the first time in the 18 year existence of the JROTC program at the high school that a Wareham High School cadet received this award, according to Principal Scott Palladino.
Cahill said he was most surprised by the teamwork and camaraderie fostered during his time with JROTC.
“I formed so many bonds with not only my instructors, but all my classmates,” Cahill said. “We all talk to each other outside of school, we work together effectively as a unit.”
One of his favorite JROTC memories was from a service project his junior year at a local veterans home.
“We decided that we were going to do something for them for Christmas, and we got them Christmas gifts and everything, and had a little pizza party afterward,” Cahill said. “We could see that they enjoyed it.”
Cahill said he plans to apply to the United States Military Academy at West Point. If that falls through, he said he will participate in an ROTC program in the hopes of getting into the Army as an officer.