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Collaboratory announces General James L. Dozier JROTC Support Fund

By Staff | Aug 12, 2021

Gen. James Dozier, seated, along with, standing from left, Gary Bryant, Sarah Owen and Ron Penn. PHOTO PROVIDED

The General James L. Dozier JROTC Support Fund has been established at Collaboratory.

The purpose of the fund is to support various Lee County JROTC training programs and their activities to enhance the future leadership of the United States Armed Forces. This will include supporting programs not funded by other sources to those who intend to pursue a career as a commissioned officer in the United States Armed Forces.

Major Gen. James L. Dozier is a retired U.S. Army officer who served 35 years in the military with significant staff and command assignments with the U.S. Army and NATO in the United States, Europe and Asia. He was commissioned as an Army officer in 1956 following graduation from West Point. He holds a master’s degree from the Arizona State in aerospace engineering and is a graduate of the Command and General Staff College and the Army War College.

During his service in Vietnam, Dozier was awarded both the Silver Star and Bronze Star for heroism and the Purple Heart for combat wounds. In 1981 he was kidnapped by Red Brigades terrorists in Italy and held for 42 days before being rescued by an Italian National Police SWAT team. Dozer’s conduct during this harrowing period was recognized by President Ronald Reagan with several visits to the White House.

On retirement from active Army military service in 1985, he returned to Florida and demonstrated successful leadership and management experience in the agribusiness sector for 20 more years before retiring again in 2004. Since 1985 Dozier has been actively involved in community groups and veterans’ organizations, including the Lee County Electric Cooperative, the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, the Florida Commission on Veterans Affairs, the Southwest Council Boy Scouts of America, the Fort Myers Heart Walk, Rotary Club, the Lee Coast Chapter Military Officers Association of America, Good Wheels, and the local Congressman’s Service Academy Nominating Committee, among others. In 2015 he was inducted by Gov. Scott into the Florida Veterans Hall of Fame.

“I’ve been working with Junior ROTC for years and it’s a really good program, particularly Lee County’s program which is one of the largest in the United States,” said Gen. Dozier. “Unfortunately, funding is limited and their allotted funds don’t cover everything they need. So, I thought it would be a good idea to form a support group, much like an athletic support group, to fund things that otherwise they couldn’t do.”

The Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps came into being with the passage of the National Defense Act of 1916. The focus of JROTC was on secondary schools and was part of a national commitment by the Department of Defense to give back to the civilian community by supporting public education. Under the provisions of the 1916 act, high schools were authorized the loan of federal military equipment and the assignment of active or retired military personnel as instructors on the condition that they followed a prescribed course of training and maintained a minimum enrollment of 100 students over 14 years of age.

Today, Lee County’s JROTC program has grown to 15 public schools and one Charter School in Lee County with approximately 5000 students that are enrolled in the program. A major component of the JROTC leadership and citizenship program is female Cadets which make up 40 percent of the Cadet population.

JROTC uses a military framework to teach leadership, responsibility and citizenship. The graduation rate for JROTC students is 93.98 percent and the high school dropout rate is less than one percent. Many of the program graduates end up going into college ROTC, which produces commissioned officers.

“With this fund we not only want to foster the day to day activities, but we also want to support students who are going to college ROTC programs to pursue a career in the military,” said Lt. Col. Gary Bryant, U.S. Army (retired) who serves as chairman of the board. “This fund is near and dear to my heart because I went to college on an ROTC scholarship, and my two sons both graduated from college in the ROTC. We want to help those families who have students who are pursuing a career in the military.”

According to Bryant, they have also awarded three $1,000 scholarships so far this year.

“With the public’s help we are hoping to grow this fund so we can provide a lot more funding to support local ROTC programs,” he said.

Dozier will serve as founder of the General James L. Dozier JROTC Support Fund and Bryant will serve as chairman of the board. Additional board members include Lt. Col. Teresa Galgano, U.S. Army (retired) as secretary, Commander Douglas B. Quelch, U.S. Navy (retired) as treasurer, and Col. Steve Epkins, U.S. Army (retired), Principal Carl Burnside, professor Christine Wright-Isak, PHD, and Pamela M. Noland, Esq., as board members.

To learn more or make a contribution to the fund, call 239-308-1019 or visit collaboratory.org/donate.

About the Collaboratory

Collaboratory is committed to coordinating the solving of all of Southwest Florida’s social problems on an 18-year deadline including homelessness, poverty, mental illness, racism, illiteracy and more. Collaboratory was founded in 1976 as the Southwest Florida Community Founda-tion. It has made over $83 million in grants since then and is home to more than 400 philanthropic funds. To learn more and get involved, call 239-274-5900 or visit www.collaboratory.org.