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Los Alamos High School senior and NJROTC Cadet John Gibson, is one young man that likes to make things a little better, when there is something to be done. The ’Topper teen is currently the commander of the tug-of-war and small-bore rifle teams and a cadet ensign with four years of service in NJROTC.
“I enjoy the practice of mutual support that I see every single day in the cadets,” Gibson said. “The unit runs on the effort, blood, sweat and tears poured in by each and every cadet. If it weren’t for each one, we could not have the whole.”
Like any club or organization, the unit finds itself raising funds to travel to events and compete in a variety of areas. Gibson knew that in addition to regular fundraising duties, he could contribute a bit more.
He was inspired to make paracord bracelets after attending a Science Technology Engineering and Math seminar, in Daytona, Fla. Gibson attended the presentation at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, via the NJROTC program.
“It’s no secret the unit is very active in the community and as a result of our constant travel expenses and materials costs, I was simply trying to do my part to give a little bit back to the organization that has given me so much throughout high school and helped prepare me for my future,” Gibson said.
He makes bracelets in a dual braid pattern of 550 paracord material. The braids are held together by a half-inch plastic buckle, with a built in safety whistle, to aid the wearer in preparedness. The majority of the bracelets sell for $5, but specialty bracelets, key chains and lanyards can be ordered in multiple patterns and colors, for $7.
His current colors include blue camouflage, known as aquaflage; blue and yellow, scarlet and gold and desert digital camouflage. The fundraising contributions can be ordered by calling 490-3735 or by placing an order with the unit through Gunnery Sgt. Bret Painter or Lt. Cmdr. Wes Shumaker, at Los Alamos High School.
Gibson will continue to sell them until supplies run out. The unit will use the much-needed funds for all of the air rifle teams shooting equipment, the ever-increasing travel expenses for the drill, physical fitness and academic teams, as well as for any equipment needed throughout the year to keep teams successful.
After graduation, Gibson plans to attend New Mexico Tech while majoring in petroleum engineering. What will he miss most about his NJROTC unit, after graduation?
“Honestly I will miss my shooting range the most,” Gibson said. “There is not a day that goes by that I don’t walk in to the Nik “Ace” Ventura range and smile as I breathe deep and think about all of our unit’s great shooters, past, present and future.”
Those unaware of the NJROTC program might be surprised to learn that the goal of the unit isn’t to encourage students to join the military, but to prepare them to further their education, by offering leadership skills.
“My ROTC experience has been life changing. I have become more goal oriented, organized, prepared and above all, successful,” Gibson said.
Gibson was recently nominated for a Community Asset Award, through Assets In Action and the Juvenile Justice Advisory Board and will be recognized at an event on Saturday.