Brookings, S.D. (KELO) — The Army ROTC and Air Force ROTC at South Dakota State University went head-to-head in a competition, but this year, it wasn’t on the field.
“Every year, we typically do a Turkey Bowl, which is against the Air Force and then with COVID this year, we couldn’t do the annual Turkey Bowl, which is a flag football game, so we decided to come up with a competition where we see who can raise the most amount of food,” Army ROTC cadet Parker Young said.
Between the Army ROTC and Air Force ROTC, they gathered over 1,600 pounds of food. All of it will be donated to the nonprofit Feeding Brookings.
“This was a really good opportunity for us, because we initially reached out to Feeding Brookings, you know, asking what their needs for the community were as were kind of transitioning more into that holiday season, and you know, they gave us what they needed and we sent that down to our cadets. What we needed from them, and they went out and got everything. That’s the best part to is that this is all staying local, so we know we’re really helping out our community,” Army ROTC cadet Jerrod Fedorchik said.
Air Force ROTC cadet Samantha Gortmaker said a lot of the activities they normally do during the year had to change because of COVID-19.
“This year, we’re needing a little bit more of a remote way of being able to contribute to the community and this was great way instead of doing a Turkey Bowl, the traditional football game, where Air Force always beats Army, instead we get to take the effort and be able to provide food for people who are struggling, especially this time of year,” Gortmaker said.
Army ROTC came out on top over Air Force ROTC. The Army ROTC gathered a little over 1,000 pounds.
“It’s just very cool,” Young said. “It’s something that, it was a fun competition. Everyone loves a good competition and most importantly, we were able to help people in such a difficult time, so it’s probably one of the coolest things I was able to take part of this semester. It really meant a lot to me and meant a lot to all my fellow classmates.”
“One of the core values of the Air Force is service before self, so being able to show that. Show that we are showing up for our community,” Gortmaker said. “We care in a very tangible way, like providing food for those where food scarcity is a very really thing. It’s very special and it shows who we are as future officers in the military.”
Cadets from the Army ROTC also helped distribute food to about 5,000 households this past summer through Feeding Brookings.