Photo by: Riley DePasse
In an effort to boost funds, University of Central Oklahoma’s Army ROTC Broncho Battalion will hold its first 5K run.
“This really will help us and Army ROTC to continue training our cadets to the fullest,” Johnathon Gause, an Oklahoma Christian University senior ROTC student, said.
Held on UCO’s campus on April 13 at 8 a.m., the run is an effort to raise additional funds for the ROTC Broncho Battalion student organization.
UCO’s Army ROTC program includes students from smaller area partner schools like Oklahoma Christian, Southern Nazarene University and Oklahoma City University.
“OC students do play a major role in the battalion even though we don’t make up a majority of the students,” Gause said. “We are the most representing of any of the partnership schools.”
Riley Young, an Oklahoma Christian senior ROTC student, said the program has about 41 students with six from Oklahoma Christian. He said their program is comparatively smaller than others around the Nation.
“We’re pretty small, and because of that, we don’t get a whole lot of money from the government,” Young said. “In order to do training events of any kind, we have to raise the capital for it.”
A percentage of the proceeds will support the Wounded Warrior Project, an organization that aids injured military service personnel and veterans.
“If you want to support the organization, this is a great way to do that because the money is not only going to UCO ROTC, but also to the Wounded Warrior Project, which is a great organization that helps out a lot of people,” Young said.
Gause, the cadet battalion commander, said this event is a massive undertaking, which is one of the reasons they haven’t tried it before.
“Once we get it started this year, hopefully it will help us to fundraise easier in years to come,” Gause said. “Fundraising in general can be difficult. The Army itself cannot go out and seek donations. You have to do it on an unofficial basis or as part of a different organization.”
The funds collected go through their battalion’s student organization. The restrictions placed on the Army are a check on its power, according to Gause.
“You don’t want the Army, in general, seeking money,” Gause said. “However, on the small basis as of fundraising for ROTC programs, it makes it kind of irritating at times.”
The program aims to raise over $5,000 from this event. Money raised by the ROTC program funds various activities including paintball training events, team building and formal banquets.
“There are a lot of things we do in ROTC that are not training specific,” Gause said. “They more have to do with participating in Army traditions and camaraderie building – that is generally what the Broncho Battalion student organization funds are used for.”
One of the Army traditions is a formal dining event, which aids in training cadets to become officers. Gause said he hopes they can add an additional event with the funds raised.
“Even when budgets are cut nationwide, this will help us maintain the standard of training, both in actual combat and field training as well as teaching cadets about the Army culture,” Gause said.
Lieutenant Colonel Michael Teifke heads the UCO ROTC program. His goal is for 1,000 people to participate in the run.
“It’s going to be a great event on a brand new certified course,” Teifke said. “We encourage everybody to come out and support this event.”
The Oklahoma National Guard will be present with military vehicles on display. Vendors from the community will also attend the event.
Young said the program is always looking for new cadets, especially from Oklahoma Christian.
“If it’s something you’re interested in, you know who you are,” Young said. “Come talk to us at any time.”