April 23, 2019
School of the Ozarks Pitch in for Patriots club supports Vietnam Veteran Students with Pitch in for Patriots stand on the newly built ramp for Sgt. Jan Longstreth. (L-R): Sean Campbell, junior; Justice Reynolds, junior; Adin Hiebsch, senior; Olivia Vinton, senior; Leah Dolloff, senior; Sgt. Longstreth; Randy Cerretti; Brad Dolloff, dean of School of the Ozarks; Jack Carswell, senior; William Simmons, junior; Victoria Smith, junior; Esperanza Melendez, senior; and Megumi Sinniah, senior.
School of the Ozarks junior Victoria Smith lends a helping hand in building Sgt. Longstreth’s ramp as part of the service project with S of O Pitch in for Patriots.
POINT LOOKOUT, MO. — School of the Ozarks student club, Pitch in for Patriots, traveled to Nevada, Missouri, to donate items and build an access ramp for Vietnam Veteran, Sgt. Jan “EJ” Longstreth, on April 6, 2019.
Ten S of O upperclassmen and Brad Dolloff, dean of School of the Ozarks, along with carpenter Randy Cerretti, left early to travel to Longstreth’s home to volunteer their time. They donated a mattress, a scooter, and supplies to build a ramp in the front of Longstreth’s house.
Pitch in for Patriots was made aware of Longstreth and his needs through Alex Williams, S of O instructor of patriotic education. Williams’ in-laws attended the same church as Longstreth and his wife, Cathy, and they became close family friends.
“I am not used to others doing things for me,” said Sgt. Longstreth. “I appreciate everyone’s hard work to put in this ramp. There are many other Veterans out there who are worthier than me. I’m glad to see this generation taking an interest and helping someone they don’t even know.”
Longstreth served in the U.S. Army from 1969-1985 during the Vietnam War and is a two-time Purple Heart recipient. He is a former resident of Branson but currently resides in Nevada, Missouri.
“I am so thrilled that our students, led by Pitch in for Patriots co-presidents Jack Carswell and Olivia Vinton, take the motto of their club very seriously, ‘Serving Those Who Have Served,’” Dolloff said. “They are willing not only to contribute funds but to invest their time to give back to someone who has sacrificed so much for our freedom. It’s an honor to accompany a group of students who demonstrate the love of Christ to those around us. We are also thankful to Randy Cerretti, a Marine Veteran, who is willing to give of his time and expertise to help with this project.”
The volunteers spent the day serving the Longstreth family by rebuilding a ramp, cleaning the yard, and washing the outside of the house.
“I have learned at School of the Ozarks to recognize the honor and dignity due to military Veterans,” said Jack Carswell, Pitch in for Patriots co-president and senior at S of O. “I hope that our meager efforts to help the Longstreths are received with warmth and that we have been able to provide help to them.”
About Pitch in for Patriots
To reinforce the Patriotic goal of College of the Ozarks and its laboratory school, School of the Ozarks, high school students created a club called Pitch in for Patriots. S of O students desire to make a positive difference in the lives of Veterans and hope to inspire others to do the same.
Each year, students seek to find a project to serve a Veteran. They are made aware of a Veteran’s needs and then visit with the family to decide how they might meet those needs. These have included paying for van repairs, buying a track chair, purchasing wreaths for Wreaths Across America, purchasing a car for a local amputee, and a $3,000 donation to Vietnam Veterans Chapter 913 to help with their spring projects.
The students hope Pitch in for Patriots serves as a model for other high school and college students around the country who want to start a club on their campuses. If you would like to donate to Pitch in for Patriots, please mail your donation to School of the Ozarks, P.O. Box 17, Point Lookout, MO 65616, or call the School at 417-690-2325 for more information about how you can help.
About College of the Ozarks
College of the Ozarks is a private, Christian, liberal arts college, located in Point Lookout, Missouri, on a 1,000-acre campus. Christian values, hard work, and financial responsibility comprise the fundamental building blocks of the “Hard Work U.” experience. The College earns numerous accolades yearly, including No. 1 Most Innovative School in the Midwest by U.S. News & World Report for 2019 and No. 1 Best Bang for the Buck by Washington Monthly. To achieve its vision, the College pursues academic, vocational, Christian, patriotic, and cultural goals. These goals are mirrored in School of the Ozarks, a laboratory school that completes the K-college model.
The Keeter Center — the College’s award winning lodge, restaurant, and conference facility — was ranked a Top Small Hotel in the U.S. by TripAdvisor for 2019. It features historic lodging, fine dining, and meeting rooms. With more than 350 student workers, it is the largest workstation on campus. Follow College of the Ozarks at www.facebook.com/collegeoftheozarks or on Twitter @CofOHardWorkU.
04.23.19 – Juliet Thompson