For the fourth year in a row, a Brother Martin Navy Junior ROTC Cadet won the Legion of Valor Bronze Cross and Area 8 Top Junior Award. Cadet Harrison Hedgpeth, a senior in the NJROTC Program, was one of two Cadets in NJROTC Area 8 selected for the award. The Area Manager selects top Cadets from the 49 NJROTC schools in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and the Florida panhandle. The criteria for this award is based on academic excellence, performance in the NJROTC program, performance at school, community involvement, and leadership potential.
With the blessing of the national organization, Harrison was one of only 22 Cadets nationwide to win the Legion of Valor Bronze Cross for Achievement. Retired Marine Corps Colonel Terry Ebbert presented the award in a ceremony attended by NJROTC Cadets, school officials, and Cadet Hedgpeth’s family. The Legion of Valor organization is comprised of members of the military awarded the highest recognition for heroic actions, the Medal of Honor or the Service Cross. Colonel Ebbert earned the Navy Cross as a junior officer in Vietnam while leading a Company of Marines into combat. After retiring, he continued to serve his community through emergency management positions. Most recently, he was selected by Mayor Cantrell as the Director of Emergency Services and Homeland Security. “The Legion of Valor recognizes upcoming leaders in our community. Our organization encourages citizen-leaders to forge the path for the future,” said Colonel Ebbert. “Leaders don’t have to look behind them to see who is following. Leaders never send others to do the hard jobs. We recognize Harrison today for the qualities that set him apart as one of those leaders.”
Recognition from such a distinguished organization sets this award apart in the NJROTC program. There are over 69,000 high school Cadets in Navy Junior ROTC programs throughout the country. Only 22 are selected for this award annually.
“Harrison’s accomplishments, in and out of the classroom, made him the obvious choice this year,” said retired Commander Bruce Nolan, ‘90, the Senior Naval Science Instructor at Brother Martin. “He is an enthusiastic leader displaying academic excellence, extracurricular participation, and maturity.” Harrison maintains a high grade point average in honors classes while seeking out increasing levels of responsibility in the NJROTC program. He currently leads the administrative department in the unit, preparing all records for the semi-annual inspection and audit.
Harrison is currently exploring college opportunities and career plans with assistance from his family, school, and NJROTC instructors.