Jun. 2 2016
Army teamwork instinct took over when JROTC Senior Army Instructors from schools within East Baton Rouge school district learned there was a blood supply need for a JROTC cadet in one of its sister programs. Joy Sutton, a freshman JROTC cadet at Zachary High School and daughter of Lieutenant Colonels (Retired) Glen and Shirl Sutton, both JROTC instructors within Sixth Brigade covering Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. The later colonel serves as the Senior Army Instructor at Northeast High School and her husband Glen, serves as Senior Army Instructor at Wilkerson County High School in Mississippi. Following emergency open heart surgery, Cadet Sutton received an artificial heart valve followed by a blood transfusion. Responsible for blood supply readiness, representatives from the blood bank asked if anyone could help in its resupply efforts. Since both parents had served in Europe for a lengthy period of time during Mad Cow disease, they were informed that they could not serve as blood donors. Lieutenant Colonel (Retired) Robert Hyver, Director of Army Instruction for the district remained in contact with the Suttons and kept the JROTC team informed of Cadet Sutton’s progress. Hyver also informed JROTC instructors of the blood supply need. Without a second thought, Senior Army Instructors and JROTC cadets from across East Baton Rouge Parish School District swiftly provided an overwhelming response. Several schools within the district including Tara High School, Woodlawn, Broadmoor, Belaire, Lee, Glen Oaks, Scotlandville and McKinley began organizing their own school-wide blood drives in Cadet Sutton’s honor gathering far more blood needed than to simply replenish the waning blood supply. Since Northeast High had just completed its second semester school-wide blood drive, several individual donors came forward to give blood. Joy could only weep when she learned of the multiple blood drives in her honor. The entire Sutton family, including Joy’s twelve year old brother Jordan, is appreciative of all of the support from family, friends, administrators, teachers, co-workers, church family and especially JROTC units during Joy’s critical care.
Today Cadet Sutton smiles and remains positive as she now comprehends just how ill she had been and how well she has convalesced. Cadet Sutton has also gained first-hand experience on the importance of teamwork and how working together toward a common goal helped save her life. She has enrolled in JROTC II and hopes to compete as an expert rifle marksman in East Baton Rouge Parish School District hosted Drill and Rifle competitions during the upcoming school year.Back to News