Hometown Hero: Bradwell Institute JROTC

HINESVILLE, GA (WTOC) - The Bradwell Institute Junior ROTC was ready for inspection again, just days after being on display in front of a much larger audience.

Five members of the Bradwell program were right in the middle of the biggest game of the weekend, presenting the colors before the national anthem at Saturday's Georgia-Florida Game in Jacksonville. An experience as big as the setting.

"It was kind of nerve-wracking," said Matthew Sampson, a Bradwell senior who has been in the program four years. "Seeing all the people, trying not to mess up, trying to do everything perfectly while also not trying to look like you're not messing up."

"It was actually really interesting because I am applying to both schools," added senior Kayla Hoscheid. "It's definitely something I'm going to remember when I think back on high school."

The JROTC instructors select a handful of seniors for the honor every year.

Bradwell had been part of the pre-game ceremony at the game every year since Army instructor Ed Ford noticed the colors were not being presented and called the Florida athletics department.

"I asked them would they like someone to do that and they said they would be grateful for someone to do that," said Ford. "And 16 years later, we're still doing it."

In addition to being front and center for the national anthem, the seniors had a prime location for the game with sideline passes.

"After they presented the colors," said Ford, "my guys were right there on the sidelines with all the celebrities, all the players."

"I could have high-fived all the players if I wanted to," added Sampson. "I saw them run in and run out."

And, there were other perks.

"I saw," said Sampson, "so many cheerleaders."

These WTOC Hometown Heroes who did their school and their country proud are also an example to younger members of the Bradwell JROTC.

"They all come back and talk about their experience they had and the celebrities they met," said Ford. "It makes the rest of them really want to go. The ones that are going to be seniors next year are already asking if they can go."

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