Hemet students come together to help Houston storm victims

JROTC instructor hauls 2,500 pounds of donations to Texas

Photo courtesy HUSD
Some 2,500 pounds of goods destined for storm victims in Houston were driven to Texas.

■ Chronicle News Service

Hemet Unified School District has some great students.
It seems that every time there is a tragedy or crisis, HUSD students step forward and create fundraisers to help those who have suffered. During the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, it was no different. Last month students at Jacob Wiens wrote handmade cards for students in Houston, and now, a student at West Valley High School has organized a project to help donate supplies to James Madison High School there.
Andrew Weishaar is a senior at West Valley. He is a good student, plays football, and is second in command for the school’s JROTC program. After watching the news, Andrew came to school the next morning and approached Chief Warrant Officer and Naval Science teacher Alfonza Walton to ask what people could do to help residents in Houston. By third period, Andrew came up with the idea of collecting donations for small children to help parents take care of their kids. After discussing the idea with Principal Dr. Janice Jones, more people began to get involved and the idea gained momentum. Donna Parker, West Valley’s AVID teacher, used her AVID connections to adopt a high school in Houston – James Madison High School, where students could send donations.

Photo courtesy HUSD
Lt. Bryon Connors of James Madison High School, Houston, and Chief Ed Aguiar, West Valley High, Hemet.

Andrew and the West Valley team spent nearly a month collecting various items for victims of Hurricane Harvey. After all was said and done, 2,500 pounds of donations were sent to James Madison High School. Donations included clothing, food, water, sanitation supplies, toiletries, and other household products. Chief Ed Aguiar, JROTC instructor, took a U-Haul (that was donated from his friend) and drove from Hemet to El Paso, Texas, on Saturday, Oct. 14th, to meet James Madison’s JROTC instructor, Lt. Bryon Connors, who would drive back to Houston to deliver the donations to the school.
Andrew Weishaar expressed thanks to his fellow cadets, AVID students, and others throughout the school who donated to the cause. “We aren’t just a school; we are a family – a nation,” he said. “We are here for each other. We want to build everyone one up, give people equal opportunity, especially in a crisis situation,” said Andrew.
The West Valley JROTC program is preparing for another project where they will be conducting a Flag Retirement Ceremony at Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW)’s Winchester Post on Nov. 12 at 2 p.m. Chief Aguiar said the ceremony is a way to pay homage to those who have given their lives for our nation. They are asking the community to come to the ceremony and bring old American flags that are no longer fit to display so they can be retired. If you have a flag that has been torn or ripped, please bring it to West Valley prior to the 12th, and a JROTC member will bring it with them to the ceremony.
Hemet Unified extended its thanks to Andrew Weishaar, Chief Warrant Officer Walton, Chief Aguiar, and the West Valley team for coming together in support of these worthwhile causes.

Photo courtesy HUSD
Chief Ed Aguiar, Andrew Weishaar, and Chief Warrant Officer Alfonza Walton who all helped ensure the donations reached their destination in Houston.

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