It was the military order of the world war and dates back to the Great War, the First World War.
In 1919, General of the Armies John J. “Black Jack” Pershing had a plan for a fraternity of American military officers to end their active service after this war. It would be, the story goes, a goal for these officers to continue to serve their country.
In 1945 and because of World War II, the name of the organization was pluralized into Military Order of World Wars, and today it retired or former military officers of the Korean War , the Vietnam War, the Gulf War, Afghanistan, the Iraq War and peacetime service. .
The mission remains: “It is nobler to serve than to be served. The national sections have their own service projects, a number of which include projects and scholarships for young people.
For local MOWW members, the focus is on “Building Informed Citizen Leaders” through the nonprofit Rocky Mountain Youth Leadership Foundation. Celebrating its 2021 Leadership Conference, which drew 68 students entering Grade 12, MOWW members and their families gathered for dinner at the Patty Jewett Golf Course on September 21.
Since 1993, students with demonstrated leadership potential have been recommended by high school or junior ROTC guidance counselors. For five days, they live on a college campus during the summer. They study “leadership and ethics”, free enterprise, school and community, “patriotism and leadership” and hot topics such as cybersecurity.
The conference opens with a teenage crush, the adults have learned: There are no cell phones. As conference director Steve Shambach explained, the students “interact face to face”. Participant Griffin Greenwood called the “no cellphones real detox” but agreed that it helped as minds opened and students learned “ways of leadership.” The attendees didn’t know each other and this summer the 68 were from 27 high schools in Denver to Pueblo and east to west, Shambach said. They “learn by doing” through teamwork exercises.
Participants receive full scholarships. It is estimated that as COVID restrictions are lifted, there could be 100 participants each summer.
For more information on the Rocky Mountain Youth Leadership Foundation, visit rmylf.org.