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Veterans teach life skills, military training to U.S. Navy Sea Cadets

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Posted at 10:44 PM, May 08, 2023

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — It's not Boot Camp, but it sure seems like it. And kids as young as 10 can join.

It's the U.S. NavalSea Cadet Corps Texas Division in Corpus Christi. It's a youth development program for Navy.

Once a month, Navy veteran Christopher Martinez volunteers his time to teach kids more than just about standing in a straight line and marching.

"Some of them like it because of the structure. They show that they are bettering themselves as a young citizen coming into this world," said Martinez, the group's leader.

Fellow Navy veteran Matt Garcia is second in command. He says the Sea Cadets is an avenue for many kids who want a future in active military service.

"They're given the opportunity to learn to see what's out there in the Navy, Marines, Coast Guard and Army … and say 'Hey, I may want to go down that path,'" said Garcia.

It's a good mix of boys and girls like Blaze Jackson and his cousin Petra Hess.

"It helps me get a lot more exercise in and helps me concentrate more," said Hess.

Being a member of the Sea Cadets is like having family in the ranks.

In fact, there are three members of the Rendone family who joined. And mom Angelique helps lead the group too.

"It can teach them a lot and prepare for the real world and we want to seen them succeed," Angelique Rendone.

The oldest Rendone boys Chris, enjoys the bonds created and the leadership taught by those who already served our country.

"It means a lot because they don't have to be doing this but they do it because they care for us," said Chris.

And who knows, someone in these ranks may eventually sign up to defend our country as well.

To paraphrase former president Ronald Reagan, our freedom depends on them.

"When they do this (be a part of the Sea Cadets), it shows that we still have the generation that's willing to sacrifice for the freedom around the world," said Martinez.

The Sea Cadets are always looking for new recruits. Click here for more information.

More Veterans In Focus stories are available here, along with resources for local veterans.

Contact Veterans In Focus reporter Pat Simon at pat.simon@kristv.com