Valley Forge MOAA awards ROTC and JROTC Liberty Bell scholarships plus awards

Gilbert Lappano – Commander USN (Retired), Cadet Dilia Reyes-Hill, Charles Merwin – 1st Lt USA (Former)

The Valley Forge Chapter of the Military Officers Association of America serving Chester and surrounding counties awarded Liberty Bell Scholarships and special awards on Saturday at the Desmond Hotel in Chesterbrook.  The national MOAA organization is comprised of over 350,000 officers of the uniformed services presently with a status of active, retired, or former.

“Each December we honor those exceptional individuals entering the services and those who excel at continuing to serve” commented Chapter President Brendan “Murph” Murphy.  He also noted the beginning of a corporate sponsorship program for the scholarships with a $2,000 annual donation from Exton-based The InTech Group.

Cadet Joseph Fassano, a Drexel University student and member of Saint Joseph University Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC), was awarded the Chapter’s Liberty Bell Scholarship.  He is an accounting major and a member of the Pennoni Honors College offering more challenging courses within their major.  His role in the Air Force ROTC is Cadet Operations Group Commander.

The runner-up for the award was Cadet Jacob Fisher of Widener University ROTC Dauntless Battalion.  He serves as Battalion Commander.  He is also being recognized by the Department of the Army as a Distinguished Military Graduate.

The 2022 Liberty Bell Special Achievement was presented to Valley Forge Military College Cadet Dilia Reyes-Hill.  She was selected to attend the UPENN Environmental Conference and the West Point Ethics Commission.  She is a Phi Beta Kappa and will continue her studies in engineering at the University of Texas at Arlington.

The 2022 Junior ROTC award was presented to Reading High School’s Marine Corps  Cadet Nathalie Villarreal, Class Commander of the 400-member unit.  She additionally serves on the Student Council, the Key Club and Cross-Country Club.  The runner-up is Cadet Brandon Shilling of the Coatesville Area High School Air Force JROTC.  He is a member of the National Honor Society, the Student Council, Civil Air Patrol, and is a volunteer fire fighter.

The Eagle award for Outstanding Officer of the Year was presented to Ernie Holling, Membership Chair, and 3rd Vice President.

The following ROTC units are invited to apply for Liberty Bell Scholarships: St, Josephs Air Force ROTC, University of Pennsylvania Navy ROTC, Valley Forge Military Academy & College ROTC, Villanova University Navy ROTC and Widener University Army ROTC.

The Junior ROTC schools include Boyertown High School Navy JROTC, Coatesville Area Senior High School Air Force JROTC, Owen J. Roberts High School Navy JROTC, Phoenixville Hight School Air Force JROTC, and Reading High School Marine Corps JROTC.

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