I have the honor and privilege of teaching wonderful young men and women in Walla Walla High School’s Junior ROTC program and sincerely appreciate our valuable community partners in this effort.

Many of you have seen the ads in the paper announcing Baker Boyer Bank’s 150th anniversary. While it is awesome for a family owned business to last that long, it is doing something else really important for local kids. It became the sole sponsor of the Museum in the Classroom program run by Fort Walla Walla Museum.

Because of the bank’s generosity, museum Executive Director James Payne was able to bring a special program to all of our JROTC classes last spring and fall.

Our cadets read about the history and development of U.S. military gear. James brings this heritage to life by both sharing information and stories about the equipment and transporting actual items into our classroom.

Students got to see, and sometimes hold, original pieces used by the soldiers who fought for our rights and freedom over the years. Swords, canteens, cartridge boxes, mess gear and many other items dating from the Revolutionary War through the 1898 Spanish American War were made available for students to get a better feel for what life was like for our ancestors who served in the armed forces.

A couple of years ago, my students voted this their favorite special program of the year. Because of a lack of funding, the Museum in the Classroom program did not run in 2018. Thanks to the kindness of Baker Boyer Bank, this program returned in 2019.

The bank even paid for free museum passes for all the students lucky enough to attend these presentations.

Kids from other schools benefited from a variety of different Museum in the Classroom presentations because of the bank’s partnership. I hope this program can continue to run and benefit the children of the Walla Walla Valley for many more years to come.

I applaud Baker Boyer Bank and anyone who supports Fort Walla Walla Museum in any way. Visiting the museum is a valuable experience; having it come to the classroom is priceless.

Mark R. Mebes

Walla Walla