A passion for supporting active duty soldiers is spreading among the student body at Saint Louis Priory School.
Sophomore Drew Limp received staff support to start a USO (United Service Organizations) Club with fellow sophomores Jacob Willard, Cole Joyce and junior Miles Pim last school year. It now has doubled in its initial membership, with about 15% of Priory’s 350 students actively involved. The club mirrors the USO’s mission to provide outreach support to military members across the world by providing care packages and ensuring service members stay connected to home.
Although he was inspired to start the club because of his brother, Limp said: “This is a big group effort. It wouldn’t be possible, without all of us, to accomplish our goal.”
Limp’s brother, a 2017 Priory graduate, is 2nd. Lt. Collin Limp, who is in his senior year at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Although their maternal grandfather served in the U.S. Navy and paternal grandfather served in the U.S. Army, it was his brother’s service that spurred Limp into action. After graduating West Point and specializing in aviation, Collin will enlist for eight years in a combination of both active duty and reserve service.
“Seeing him go through the process and realizing that he will be serving made it more important to give back,” Limp said.
Club members bring items, such as snacks and toiletries, to the monthly meeting and write personalized letters to accompany each care package. Last year, they sent a total of 12 care packages over four mailings. This year, with COVID- 19, they have only been able to send five packages. The packages have been mailed to places like Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan to men and women who have signed up to receive one. The postage is self-funded by executive club members and parents.
This winter, the club will expand its program by holding an all-school drive to collect items and solicit letters. Additionally, every Thursday, the school offers a dress down day in exchange for a monetary donation to a local charity, with one week benefitting the USO Club. Long term, the club will be inviting other high schools in the area to participate in the mission or begin their own USO club.
Once the pandemic is over, another goal is to invite guest speakers to inspire the club at its meetings. Arnold native Cpl. Todd Nicely, of the Joshua Chamberlain Society, was the club’s first guest speaker. Nicely’s life forever changed at 26 years old when he stepped on a pressure plate mine while participating in combat operations against Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan in 2010. The U.S. Marine Corps corporal became one of only two other modern-day veterans who have endured battlefield injuries resulting in the loss of all four limbs and survived.
“His story is an incredible reminder of why we do what we do in support of the military,” Limp said.