Local JROTC Cadets Recognized For Their Service

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW)-- Local high school students were recognized for their selflessness in a time of community need.

Cadet Lieutenant Colonel Zac Vick thought performing a drill routine for his peers would be nothing more than a practice run for Topeka High 's Marine Corps Junior ROTC.

"We will be doing a recruiting performance at Jardine Middle School later so we figured doing a performance in front of the trojan body would be good practice before we went over to Jardine," said Vick.

But the school assembly didn't end with the cadets' performance.

"It was surprising to say the least," said Vick.

Members of the Topeka Police Department and Chief Ron Miller surprised the cadets to recognize their selflessness after two Topeka Police officers were killed last December.

The cadets unanimously decided not participate in a citywide drill competition they'd won five years running so they could stand guard at the funerals of Corporal David Gogian and Officer Jeff Atherly.

"They participated in full dress uniform and it was absolutely amazing," said Miller. "What we wanted to do was thank them for that dedication and commitment."

Miller gave each cadet a department challenge coin and presented the group with a plaque. Gogian's son, Brandon, was among the officers present to thank the cadets.

Vick says none of the cadets expected the honor.

"As a unit, I don't think we really at the time knew what the impact of the actions we were doing," said Vick. "But I think today it touched a lot of cadets."

They may not have won a title at this year's competition, but their actions earned a standing ovation today.