The WHS Local Heroes Club

Source: Dawn Martell – 4/11/2018

In 2012 I began an after school club called The Wilmington High School Local Heroes Club and have been the advisor of this club for last 6 years. The club meets once a week during the school year and the goal of the club is to help support our servicemen and servicewomen in many different ways. Another goal of the club is to make students aware of the sacrifice our Soldiers/Veterans make every day and the club works very closely with the Paul Cardello, Director of iPOD for Wounded Veterans.
As advisor of the WHS Local Heroes Club I oversee the organization and also participate, working side-by-side with our members on the many projects throughout the year. These students are very dedicated, work hard and know how important it is to support our Veterans.

As the school year begins so do our club meetings, we start by organizing and planning many of the projects that the students in the schools will participate in.

We begin by creating and decorating “Gratitude Scrolls, these scrolls are hung on the walls of Wilmington High for our students to write kind messages for our Wounded Veterans and once the scrolls are completed they are hand-delivered to Veterans Hospitals where they are displayed on the walls for all to read.

Later on in the fall I contact all the schools in Town of Wilmington to inform teachers and students about participating in the “Dear Solider Letter Campaign” and “Caring Cards for our Military”. These campaigns are to help lift the spirts of our soldiers and to let them know how much we appreciate their service and sacrifice. This campaign also makes students aware of the sacrifices the soldiers make on their behalf. After these letters and cards are collected members of the club along with myself spend countless hours reading over these letters and preparing them to be sent to our Veterans.

During the winter months students begin making 3-D snowflakes and prepare candy canes with inspiring quotes, the snowflakes are hung in the Veterans hospitals for all to read and the candy canes are sent to the Veterans and their families.

After completing this project we begin our second “Dear Solider Letter Campaign” drive, collecting as many letters as possible from all the schools in town along with our largest and most rewarding fundraiser, which is organizing a town-wide donation collection for our Veterans. With the overwhelming support from the town and schools we are able to collect a wide variety of donations from books, cards games to toiletries, these items are sent to Veterans in the hospital and are sent overseas to our soldiers.
The club organizes a Valentine’s Day fundraiser at the high school and the proceeds from this fundraiser goes towards purchase approximately 300 patriotic bags, which are then stuffed with donations and tied with ribbons and topped off with US flags by the members of the club. These bags are then sent to our Veterans hospitals and shipped overseas.

The WHS Local Heroes Club continues to work on our pictorial display for our Veterans’ Cabinet which is located in the school library. This cabinet proudly displays students and staff that have graduated or worked at the Wilmington High and bravely served and sacrificed so much.

We have also volunteered working at Barnes & Nobles, wrapping books and gifts for customers along with marching in local parades, working the July 4th booth for iPODS for Wounded Veterans which helps to raise money for the organization along with visiting our local Veterans Hospitals to raising community awareness of the sacrifice each solider makes.