The Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets has won the 2009 Governor’s Volunteerism and Community Service Award in the Government/Education category.

This award highlights the efforts of outstanding citizens of the commonwealth who seek to enhance the lives of others in their communities. The awards are presented to groups, individuals and families whose efforts exemplify extraordinary volunteer service.

The vision of the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets is to graduate leaders of exemplary character, leaders who possess the highest standards of honor and integrity, who are committed to the university’s motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve). The cadets embody this vision and live it out as they serve both the campus, surrounding, and global communities. In the fall semester alone, cadets served over 3,600 hours of community service.

The corps impact is far-reaching demonstrated by the $172,000 dollars raised for the National D-Day Memorial, more than $20,000 raised for Relay for Life, more than $13,500 raised for the Matthew LaPorte and Lauren Smith scholarships, and just in this last year more than 240 pints of blood donated, over 500 Christmas cards sent to wounded troops, 125 care packages mailed to troops in Iraq, countless local school children mentored through tutoring, flag etiquette and citizenship classes, and numerous other events.

The impact of these cadets stepping away from their busy lives to participate in all of these events is immeasurable and they not only impact the people they serve today, but the next generation who are learning from their example.

An example of the corps commitment to service is the relationship between the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Va. Former cadet Anthony Madeira, who received a degree in mechanical engineering from the College of Engineering in 2005, read that the memorial was facing bankruptcy and felt someone needed to step up and help and so he did just that. His cadet company raised $6,000 the first year and $10,000 the next and by Cadet Madeira’s senior year it had developed into a corps-wide annual service project and the corps has raised $172,000 in the last eight years. The Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets is the largest, non-corporate sponsor of the memorial and the relationship with the memorial continues to grow each year.

In addition to a full-time role as a student, each cadet has all the responsibilities of attending a full-time military school and many also work to help pay for school. Still they chose to serve above and beyond these demands. For example, the “Fill a Humvee” project, in which cadets help the Military Support Center collect food and supplies for families of deployed Guard and Reserve members, was held on a weekend during Thanksgiving break.

Another example is the immediate response of the Highty-Tighties to a late request to perform at the “We are One” Inaugural Celebration. With less than a week’s notice, the entire band was called back from break early to practice and then board buses at 4:30 a.m. to head to Washington D.C. to perform.

A final example is the 30 cadets who traveled at their own expense to help with Katrina cleanup, giving up three breaks from school. Their impact was a miracle as reported by one woman who said that the cadets took her condemned house and made it livable again in just one day!

These cadets understand what it means to serve and that they must serve others. They understand it and demonstrate it now while still in college and after they graduate. Eighty percent of the corps will commission in the military upon graduation and serve their country as officers. The other 20 percent also demonstrate this understanding of service that is described in the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets purpose statement “to develop leaders of exemplary character who are imbued with the concept of selfless service, and prepared to serve the commonwealth and the nation – either in or out of uniform – for a lifetime” as shown by careers selected by recent graduates such as Teach for America, Peace Corps, the Virginia State Police and other police forces, the FBI, the U.S. Coast Guard, medical and nursing schools, and public school teachers.

The Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets has been producing military and corporate leaders since the university was founded in 1872. It is one of just two remaining military corps within a large, primarily civilian university. The corps holds its members to the highest standards of loyalty, honor, integrity, and self-discipline. In return, cadets achieve high academic success and a long-lasting camaraderie with fellow members. Virginia Tech, the most comprehensive university in Virginia, is dedicated to quality, innovation, and results to the commonwealth, the nation, and the world.

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