Samantha Rees shows off her national honor

Faith Miller  Mustangs Ahead

(LAKEWOOD RANCH, FL) – LRHS senior Samantha Rees is the first Mustang Battalion Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC) cadet to ever receive the Legion of Valor Bronze Cross for Achievement Award.

The Legion of Valor Bronze Cross is awarded to a select number of JROTC cadets across the nation who exhibit military, scholastic and civic achievement. This award is one of the highest national honors available to JROTC cadets.

With more than three years of experience, Rees has found success participating in many of the LRHS Mustang Battalion special teams. As a member of the Junior Leadership and Academic Bowl (JLAB), raider, and orienteering teams, Rees maintains her position of Battalion Commander.

Rees said, “I am so honored to be receiving this award. I want to thank my instructors, my peers, and my family—who have been very supportive of me throughout my JROTC career and inspired me to be the best leader possible for those around me.”

LRHS Battalion Senior Army Instructor Maj. Shaun O’Dea said, “It’s a cumulative collection of her accomplishments, not only in JROTC, but in the numerous other Clubs and Organizations she participates in here at LRHS. Her positive energy is infectious, and the impact she has on those around her helps drives the success she has. I am proud to be part the Mustang Battalion and look forward to many more success stories.”

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Rees’s application was considered alongside other applicants from hundreds of JROTC Battalions across the country.

The rigorous submission process for this award was managed and operated by the LRHS JROTC senior army instructor O’Dea, and the LRHS JROTC Army Instructor, MSG. William Cassidy.

Cassidy said, “We felt confident that Miss Rees would get it due to her placing first in the state of Florida for the last two years running in Orienteering. She also led the Orienteering Team in training as well as being a key player in our Battalion Staff. She is the ultimate team player and always puts others first. We are all excited that she received this well-deserved award.”

Mustangs interested in participating in the JROTC program can contact O’Dea at or MSG. Cassidy at