This graduation and Memorial Day season, an Indian Lake alumnus is making sure students who have committed to the military are publicly recognized.
Amy (Snapp) Hayford is a 1988 graduate of Indian Lake High School and now a resident of Blissfield, Michigan. This spring she established “Cords Across America” to provide red, white and blue cords for students entering a military branch, military academy, National Guard, reserves or ROTC to wear along with their cap and gown during commencement ceremonies. They also receive a special thank you card highlighting their willingness to serve.
When Hayford’s daughter, 2 LT. Savannah Miller, U.S. Army, graduated from Perrysburg High School in 2015, she wore a similar cord provided to her by the school as she was headed to the ROTC program at Columbus State University in Georgia.
Hayford says of her daughter, “She felt a lot of pride that day being recognized as a military enlistee. It was very meaningful to her. “
Since then, Hayford learned that providing such cords is rare. So she’s set out to change that.
“I wondered how many more schools would be open to recognizing those kids? For me it’s important to be able to say ‘Thank you.’”
Hayford reached out to her alma mater, Indian Lake High School, this spring and guidance counselors immediately agreed to the cords.
“We have always recognized members of the graduating class who are signed up for the military, but this was a way to give them an extra distinction for their commitment.” explained guidance counselor Valarie Rapp.
This past Sunday, four Indian Lake enlistees, Cameron Chamberlin (Army), Brody Joseph (Navy), Cole Mefford (ROTC) and Hunter Wolf-Biernesser (Navy) wore cords provided by Hayford’s organization during commencement ceremonies. In addition, Hayford contacted Bellefontaine, Benjamin Logan, Riverside and West Liberty-Salem Schools and all agreed to allow their graduates headed to the military to wear the cords.
To recognize the military can be political in places, Hayford explains, so she was very thankful for all the support from her home school and county.
“It was very important to us! My daughter actually hand-wrote the thank you cards to all the Indian Lake students.”
Hayford’s goal was to provide at least 100 cords to graduates this spring and she exceeded that by ten. Of the 75 schools she contacted in this area of Ohio and closer to her home in Blissfield, 18 schools participated. Next, she hopes to achieve non-profit status with Cords Across America, to be able to honor even more military enlistees nationwide. For more information or to donate, visit www.cordsacrossamerica.com.
Submitted by the Indian Lake school district.