Culture & Society

Cadets Receive Distinguished Humanitarian Award

This fall hundreds of cadets answered the call to serve by responding to help those affected by Hurricane Ike.
December 4, 2008

For generations, Aggies have answered the call to service — service to their nation, their state, their community and their fellow man.

The last sentence of the Cadet Oath, “I will conduct myself in a manner that will reflect great credit on the university and the Corps of Cadets, so help me God,” was personified in four cadets, Cadet Colonel of the Corps Jordan Reid ’09, Cadet Lieutenant Colonel Syed Hussain ’09, Cadet Captain Matthew May ’09 and Cadet Sergeant First Class Jake Manchaca ’10, who received the Corps Distinguished Humanitarian Award Thursday (Dec. 3) at the Sanders Corps of Cadets Center at Texas A&M University.

Lt. Gen. (Ret.) John Van Alstyne, commandant of the corps, presented the service medal, with its distinctive ribbon, and certificate to each cadet.

For generations, Aggies have answered the call to service — service to their nation, their state, their community and their fellow man. This fall, the corps continued the tradition by responding to help those affected by Hurricane Ike. Hundreds of cadets answered the call to serve; four went above and beyond the call of duty, making a significant difference in the lives of others.

Jordan Reid ’09, a senior political science major from Whitehouse, Texas, is the Corps Commander and a member of Company F-2. Reid’s exceptional leadership helped ensure the safety and well-being of Corps members during the storm and resulted in outstanding Corps support of the evacuees on the Texas A&M campus in the storm’s aftermath. Prior to the storm, he worked with commanders to prepare the Quad for the hurricane, developed and implemented a thorough plan for safety and accountability and worked directly with the U.S. Public Health Service and other agencies to effectively coordinate volunteer efforts.

Syed Hussain ’09, a senior biomedical engineering major from Mont Belvieu, Texas, is the Corps Operations Officer and a member of Company N-1. Hussain played a critical role in planning and coordination of the various relief efforts for which the Corps of Cadets provided personnel. Working tirelessly and sleeping little over the weekend of Hurricane Ike, his contributions were critical to the success of the Easterwood Airfield operations and the organization of the evacuees at Reed Arena.

Matthew May ’09, a senior agricultural leadership and development major from Gatesville, Texas, is a member of A-Battery, Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band. For the entire week after the hurricane hit, when May was not in class he was at Reed Arena doing whatever was needed and asked of him. Serving those in need at Reed nearly all day, every day, he volunteered completely on his own initiative as there was no directive to serve. May’s commander stated, “That week, Matt truly showed what the Aggie Spirit is all about and what it means to be a good Aggie. He is an asset to this unit and the Corps of Cadets.”

Jake Manchaca ’10, a junior human resource development major from Spring, Texas, is a member of Squadron 2. After helping his own family recover from the aftermath of Hurricane Ike and witnessing the tremendous loss of all those in the Galveston area, Manchaca internalized their plight, moving him to take dramatic action. In a mere three weeks, he organized and implemented the “Beat the Hell Outta Hurricane Ike” fundraiser, resulting in revenues of $35,000 from t-shirt sales. Proceeds were given to the Lions Club of San Leon and The Association of Former Students relief program benefitting Texas A&M Galveston students. Manchaca spearheaded the effort, led an eight-member team, recruited corporate donors, designed a hurricane relief logo statement, coordinated and manned four campus sales locations and organized the finances. His massive undertaking involved countless, selfless hours of dedicated service.

Texas A&M’s Corps of Cadets is in its 132nd year of training leaders for service to the state and nation. In the Corps, cadets gain valuable leadership skills and experience to complement their academic education. While cadets earn commissions as military officers, membership in the Corps itself, carries no military obligation.

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