This year, several MHS students chose to honor American veterans by coming together and starting the Freedom’s Cause Veterans Club.
“The Freedom’s Cause Veterans Club is an organization dedicated to serving those who served us. Our mission is to show support for our nation’s veterans that have done so much to defend our freedoms and way of life. It is our veterans that pay the price for our freedom every day. That is the message that I wanted to spread, and I could think of no better way to do that than starting a club that honors and supports our veterans,” said Club President Senior Travis Afuso.
Afuso came up with this idea over the summer while researching fallen American heroes and learning about their lives, as well as what they sacrificed for freedom. “Our president, Travis Afuso, seemed to recognize the lack of respect and appreciation and decided to take initiative. He recruited me and other members through club fair,” said Historian Senior Madeline “Grace” LeBron.
This opinion was echoed throughout the club, giving the members a drive to spread their message. “They have served our country and deserve the respect and honor they have received. Too many people disrespect our nation’s veterans, and that needs to change,” said Treasurer Senior Timothy Schiller.
As a new club, the number of members started out low, initially Afuso only had five officers, but has steadily risen. “I recognize that this being our first year, our mission is to build the club. We have a decent amount of members this year, but what excites me is the potential for the future, because who isn’t thankful for freedom?” said Afuso. “That is why we are the Freedom’s Cause Veterans Club—to remind others that by serving our veterans who have done so much to ensure our freedoms, we are serving the cause of freedom as well.”
Just like other clubs, they have plans to spread their message through community events and service projects. “In third quarter, we are trying to hold a community event where the whole Mililani community can come together for a big fundraiser for the veterans. We plan on sharing the event information by the means of Instagram, Facebook and the school bulletin. The Veteran’s Club also partners with JROTC, NHS (National Honor Society) and the Surf Club as well,” said Schiller.
Recently, the Freedom’s Cause Veterans Club had asked the National Honor Society to help them reach out to families of fallen soldiers by writing letters of condolence. “(Grace) had mentioned to me that her family had sent letters to families of sailors lost in an at sea accident. We talked about the tragedy in Niger and the loss of those four soldiers at a previous meeting and we decided that it would be a great thing to show these families our support. We don’t know them and they don’t know us, but we honor and respect their fallen loved ones, and we wanted to let them know that the people of America stand with them in their time of struggle,” said Afuso.
They are planning similar projects in the near future to help veterans overseas and closer to home. “We are trying to get a care package shipment going, as well as a seasonal service project for our local single soldiers and sailors. We would also like to manage a fun run, but that has a lot of moving parts to organize,” said LeBron.
For some members, especially those in JROTC, the meaning was very personal and they hoped to spread their message through the community. “I want to leave patriotism in everyone’s hearts and minds. I want future members to grow the true American values and emphasize to both you and the public what it really takes to make the U.S. such a magnificent and diverse country through service, because freedom isn’t free,” said LeBron.
As the club progresses through its first year, the members have already begun planning for the future. “I hope to pass this on to some of the younger members in our club, and I would be more than happy to support them in any way I can when I go off to college. That is another reason it is very important for us to work hard to empower and inspire our members to take this club to its maximum potential,” said Afuso.
The Freedom’s Cause Veterans Club will continue to host activities and events throughout the year.