Cadet’s volunteer work teaches dedication

Cadet’s volunteer work teaches dedication

Avantika Khatri

Good cadet, better cop: Senior Grant Martin wears his Columbia Police Cadet jacket with pride at RBHS. As a cadet, Martin has become more active in the town.

Whether the activity be shooting soap bullets at fellow cadets or parking cars at the air show annually, senior Grant Martin, chief of the police cadets, will be there.
He joined the cadets after enjoying a presentation by the police at Youth Academy the summer after eighth grade. Along with the two current captains, Hickman High School seniors, Martin went to his first cadets meeting. After being exposed the camaraderie and experiencing police simulations, he decided to join. He and the other two captains talked about it a lot, inspiring  it their friend, senior Brad Sherman, to join six months later.
Police cadets not only take part in demonstrations by the police department, but also volunteer  in community events.
Martin is “the neck. He’s the first cadet to hear about stuff we’re doing,” Sherman said. “He’s dedicated. He can put his mind to something and get it done. … He’s at more events than anyone else as far as the police cadets. He’s always there and tries to make sure other people go to it as well. He wants to make sure we’re all involved.”
In every circumstance, Martin puts himself into volunteer situations many cadets reject. In the sweltering summer heat, Martin took on the dreaded job of being McGruff, the police mascot. Sherman described it as “dressing up as the Bruin bear in 100 degree weather,” demonstrating his dedication to the team.
In additon to cadets, Martin volunteers for many events. At monthly meetings during the school year and more regular meetings in the summer, cadets choose which events to sign up for.
“Volunteering is very rewarding,” Martin said. “I would definitely continue volunteering … as long as it didn’t take up too much of my time or interfere with other things that are more important to my education and/or career.”
As a volunteer, Martin has spent hours parking cars at the air show. He has also worked parades at Roots N Blues N BBQ. The volunteer work is his primary motivation for becoming a cadet, but he also enjoys the police simulations.
“When you walk into the police cadets, you just kind of think, ‘Oh, we’re about to learn about the Columbia Police Department and their stuff.’ But we also talk about all the messed up stuff they do, plus when we go out it’s really fun,” Martin said. “We also watch police chases and stuff. And it’s just been a blast. You know, you get to see some stuff that most of the public doesn’t get to see.”
Martin had the opportunity to follow an investigation from the police’s perspective as well as from the public eye. He also pelted his fellow cadets with soap bullets, comparing it to playing paintball in Columbia Public Schools.
“I love my fellow cadets. I couldn’t ask for anyone better. … When we go to meetings, always, it’s a very good time,” Martin said. “We did some driving simulators at one meeting and other cool stuff like that. Cops from different crimes units come in. You never know what you’re going to get when you show up to those meetings. It’s just a lot of fun.”
Through all these activities, Martin’s core group of friends has remained in the cadets. They are selected through an application process, many of whom Martin reviews himself. A wide range of students enter the cadets.
“He actually tries. … There’s a group that’s always been friends, and there’s another group of misfit cadets,” Sherman said, “and he always tries to get the misfits into the conversation.”
Sherman described Martin as “a character” and a great person.
Volunteering through the cadets not only provided a great atmosphere for bonding with other cadets, but it also made Martin a better person.
“It has changed me. I treat people I don’t know with a more friendly attitude. … Helping other people basically is what police cadets are trying to do,” Martin said. “It makes me a nicer person to strangers.”
By Avantika Khatri