It takes these ‘Young Marines' in Bossier City less than a minute to recite their oath, but just 10 seconds to get to the most controversial part: ‘My God'
Two years ago, those two words were so threatening to the federal government, a $30,000 federal grant was pulled from this program that's aimed at building character, service to our community and keeping kids on the right track.
Now two years later, Bossier Sheriff Julian Whittington, who vowed to continue the program despite the grant loss, still wonders why was there such a fuss over voluntary prayer and the mention of God in the first place.
"I just simply knew that what we were doing there was nothing wrong with it," said Whittington. "Just the mere idea that the federal government could come right in here has come right in here. They've gone so far to limit what we can say or do right here in Bossier Parish is pretty disturbing."
The community refused to give in and give up on this program, so it rallied behind it's "Young Marines" and donated triple the amount of the loss of federal funds so that kids like Malik Gadson have a place to go for discipline and direction.
"I was very heavy, so it (Young Marines) helps me get in shape with physical training and mental training. It was all great fun and a great learning experience," said Gadson.
The Young Marines is a program that gives second chances. Just ask 15 year old Harley Woods.
"I used to act bad during classes and I talked back to my parents and stuff, but now, I got in control of that," said Woods.
The program is open to all children aged 8 to 18. Contact the Bossier Parish Sheriff's office at (318) 935-2053 for more information.
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