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Mariner High student promotes ROTC fund-raiser

By Staff | Mar 10, 2009

On March 21, a local student and ROTC member will host a fund-raiser to benefit ROTC at North Fort Myers All Star Lanes.
The bowling benefit is a special project because Mariner High School student and ROTC member Adam Arel works at the lanes, aside his mom, Susan Arel. He is also proud to be with ROTC, and is actively involved in the program.
“We’re doing a bowl-a-thon for ROTC on Saturday, March 21, starting at 6 p.m.,” he said.
The event is $15 per person and includes shoes.
“Funds received will be used to support our rifle team,” Arel said. “Equipment is the top priority.”
He believes rifle teams and gun education like this are important in these times.
“It is safe gun handling, we teach everything and try to explain everything, expose people to education,” he said.
Senior Army Instructor Lt. Col. Glenn Steffenhagen from Punta Gorda said he is proud to mentor Arel.
“He’s next year’s battalion commander for the local Triton Battalion,” he said. “That’s named after his school’s mascot.
“The mission of ROTC is to motivate young people to become better citizens. We’re not about recruitment — it’s all about citizenship,” Steffenhagen added.
How did Arel start with ROTC?
“I’ve been involved since my freshman year,” he said. “When I first started, I thought I may go into the military when I got out of high school but I didn’t know, but I thought it would be more of a way to learn leadership and how to be a better person and to know more about yourself, physically, mentally and emotionally.”
There are four main teams involved in school ROTC. First there is the rifle team and the color guard.
“That’s what you see at school and community events,” said Steffenhagen.
There is also a Raider team that concentrates on physical events and a drill team.
“I’m actually captain of our rifle team,” said Arel.
Steffenhagen expanded Arel’s work.
“He’s the commander of the drill team, going to state competitions in Lakeland this weekend,” he said. “I’m very proud of him. I’ve seen him develop over the last three years from a freshman to a complete leader.”
Arel said being in ROTC has been a life-changing experience. He now has the opportunity to go to college with benefits.
“I’m getting an ROTC scholarship and then can enter the Army as an officer,” he said.
He said he has gotten many personal benefits from the program.
“It builds team work and leadership. You can turn a shy kid into an outgoing kid. It builds confidence,” he said.
He will get special ranking within the Armed Forces for his ROTC service.
“A normal person starts lower,” he said. “I get to be a leader faster.”
He said he is not sure exactly what he would like to do in the future.
“I’m looking into Army Intelligence,” he said.
A Cape Coral resident, Arel grew up in Fort Lauderdale.
“My mom and I both work at the lanes. Right now, one of the things I do is host birthday parties and other events,” he said.
Concerning the ROTC, he added, “I would highly recommend ROTC to other students.”
“I’m so proud of him for making such an honorable decision to consider the Armed Forces,” said his mom, Susan.
For information on the fund-raiser and to register, call 995-2138.

Other happenings at All Star Lanes
Sally Gartner, program director for All Star Lanes, also shared some upcoming activities.
“You can enjoy our glow bowling Friday and Saturday nights for $10 for two hours of bowling includes shoes per person,” she said. “Short summer leagues are also now forming, including Mondays at 7 p.m., youth/adult two-person team and Thursdays at 2 p.m., scholarship youth — everyone will receive a scholarship. There’s also a Saturday at 10 a.m. junior program.”
Gartner added there is a NASCAR league and other adult league happenings.
For information, call 995-2138.