Cadets outfit SHS classrooms with bleed kits

Published 4:00 pm Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Due to the increase in school shootings the past few years, cadets Ethan Swartz and Kadence Distefano decided to do something to make a difference to protect Smithfield High School students and faculty. 

After 15 months of hard work and dedication, SHS JROTC cadets Ethan Swartz and Kadence Distefano completed Phase II of their Stop the Bleed project.  

In Phase I of Stop the Bleed training for all JROTC cadets, and teachers who chose to attend, was completed earlier this year in April.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Completion of Phase II, which was to obtain 88 stop the bleed kits to outfit every classroom and office space at SHS, was completed Nov. 2, with the last kit being delivered to Judy Carter, the certified nurse assistant instructor. 

“Every classroom and office now has a Stop the Bleed kit, and with our continued STB training, a trained JROTC cadet or teacher should be close by,” Swartz said.

Distenfano and Swartz said they could not have done this without the help of our many donors, including Smithfield Lions Club, Carrollton Ruritans, Windsor Ruritans, Patty Croaker who set up a Go Fund Me page, John Collick, Eclipse Pets, Palladium and David and Judy Bowden, along with many other individual donors.

“From the bottom of our hearts, thank you Isle of Wight County,” the cadets said. “Our donations and support can do nothing but save lives.” 

The pair also thanked School Board members Mark Wooster and Mike Cunningham for volunteering to conduct the initial STB instruction and training.  Phase III of this project is working with Isle of Wight central office Safety and Security Officer Jason Brinkley and the county’s School Board to obtain funding or donations so all schools have the ability to save lives in the event of a catastrophe. “I applaud Ethan and Kadence for making a difference,” Lt. Col. Peter Badoian, the JROTC Senior Army Instructor said. “These two, with the assistance of their parents, have made a difference for every teacher and student at SHS. Hopefully, these kits will never have to be used, but if something does happen lives can now be saved that would not have and the skills these cadets have learned can be used anywhere to save lives.”