At Neosho High School, the Missouri 41st AFJROTC cadet corps is turning fifty and a celebration of that half century is scheduled next month.

On Saturday, April 18, they will host a celebration at 6 p.m. in the Neosho High School cafeteria.

Corps Commander Trenton Lumpkins said they will have color guard and drill team exhibitions and they plan to have a catered meal. There will be raffles for various items as well, including some McDonald's gift cards, SpeeDee Lube certificates and more.

Neosho Mayor William J. Doubek will be present. Missouri State Representative Ben Baker will have a resolution and the cadets have invited Missouri Governor Mike Parson.

Families, the community, and former cadets from all eras. They hope to invite some past commanders as well.

Lumpkins talked about the ROTC program.

"We do a lot of great things," he said. "We love to do fundraising so we can go on great trips, like to Little Rock Air Force Base. It's something I look forward to for the future cadets to do also. I'm happy we have opportunities to go out there and explore. We also do community service. It's a worthwhile program."

Among the ongoing projects, the cadets participate in Adopt A Highway.

"Adopt A Highway is one of our services we do," Shawn Woodle, Public Information Officer, shared. 'It cleans up the road and it's good for our community."

PT Officer Wryder Wilson also said he choose Neosho High School so that he could participate in the ROTC program.

"I live at Westview," he said. "I could choose to either go to Seneca High School or Neosho. I chose Neosho so I could be involved in AFJROTC."

The program is one that benefits many students, some of which might not otherwise participate in a school program.

"We take the worst of the worst and we turn them into outstanding citizens," Wilson said.

"We come together," Lumpkins stated. "We share the community service, the camaraderie and we look at the program as a big family. We look at it as our second family."

"We come together a one, we work together as one, we play together as one," Woodle said.

AFJROTC Cadets provide a color guard to raise the American flag at each Neosho varsity home game. They provide color guards for many local events. Each year, they bring their presentation of the Empty Table to events at area schools, at the annual Memorial Day event at IOOF and Stella cemeteries, participate in area parades and much more. They hold a traditional Dining In and a Military Ball for cadets each year as well as an annual awards ceremony each spring.

The Neosho Daily News will provide additional details on the event as they are made available and showcase some photographs from the program, past and present.

Mark April 18 on the calendar and plan to celebrate a milestone, fifty years of Air Force Junior ROTC at Neosho High School.