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Jim Hill JROTC Cadet Receives Legion of Valor Bronze Cross Award

November 15, 2018

Ruben Banks
Cadet Col. Ruben Banks

Cadet Col. Ruben Banks of Jim Hill High School received the Legion of Valor Bronze Cross Award for Achievement for 2018-2019. Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Augustus L. Collins, former Mississippi Adjutant General, presented the award to Banks as part of the Veterans Day Program held at Jim Hill on November 6.

Banks is one of only two JROTC cadets from the state of Mississippi to earn the Legion of Valor Bronze Cross Award for Achievement this school year. The Legion of Valor Bronze Cross is awarded to cadets who have shown outstanding excellence in military and academic subjects while enrolled in the Junior ROTC program. To receive this award, they must be in the top 10 percent of their JROTC class and have demonstrated outstanding leadership and involvement in their school and community. They must also be recommended by their JROTC instructor and their high school principal.

The prestigious Legion of Valor award is authorized for only one cadet out of every 4,000 in an Army Junior ROTC brigade. This year, Army Cadet Command in Fort Knox, Kentucky selected 24 Army Junior ROTC cadets from 314,000 cadets worldwide as Legion of Valor Recipients.

About Cadet Ruben Banks

Banks is a senior at Jim Hill High School. He is currently serving as the Cadet Brigade Commander for Jackson Public Schools. He is the senior ranking cadet over seven Army JROTC units and nearly 1,800 cadets. Academically, Banks is ranked No. 11 out of 286 students in his senior class at Jim Hill. He has a cumulative GPA of 4.5 (on the International Baccalaureate 5.0 scale). He has also achieved an ACT score of 21.

Cadet Banks holding award with presenter, parent, and instructors
Participating in the presentation of the Legion of Valor award are (from left) Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Augustus L. Collins, former Mississippi Adjutant General; Cadet Col. Ruben Banks, the 2018 Legion of Valor Bronze Cross Award recipient; Ruben Banks Sr., father of Cadet Banks; Col. (Ret.) Paul L. Willis, Director, JPS JROTC Programs, and Lt. Col. (Ret.) Raymond Leonard, Senior Army Instructor, Jim Hill High School.

Banks has made numerous accomplishments in his four years as a member of the JROTC. In the summer of 2018, he served as Governor of Mississippi Boys State at Ole Miss and was also selected to represent Mississippi in Washington, D.C. at Boys Nation. At Boys Nation, he served as a Committee Chairman. As part of this experience, he met several key figures in politics including Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant and Vice President Mike Pence.

Banks has also served for the past four years as a member of the United States Air Force Auxiliary Civil Air Patrol where he has held various leadership roles, including commander, communications officer, medic, and assistant ground team leader. Through this organization alone, he has accrued over 250 hours of community service. His involvement with the Civil Air Patrol led to Banks being selected by the Federal Emergency Management Agency for its 15-member national Youth Preparedness Council (YPC). He completes his two-year commitment in 2019.

After graduation, Banks plans to attend the U.S. Air Force Academy and pursue a degree in mechanical engineering. Later, he plans to apply to law school to become a military lawyer.

"Cadet Banks is poised and mature beyond his years, with an unequaled thirst for knowledge and increased responsibility," said Col. Paul Willis, Director, JPS JROTC Programs. "Through hard work and discipline, he has earned opportunities to work with and be mentored by government leaders such as Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba, Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood, Federal Court Judge Henry T. Wingate, and U.S. Senator Roger Wicker."

Past JPS Legion of Valor Recipients

JPS is proud to who have had 12 Legion of Valor Recipients in the last 14 years.

  • 2005 – Latoya Washington, Forest Hill
  • 2006 – Tierra Robinson, Wingfield
  • 2007 – Jestin Owens, Forest Hill; Stevie Riddle, Lanier; and Tiffany Jackson, Callaway
  • 2008 – Eddie Parker, Murrah
  • 2009 – Sierra Williams, Lanier
  • 2011 – Amber Davis, Lanier
  • 2013 – De'Ahnera Manyfield, Jim Hill
  • 2014 – Myuna McNair, Lanier
  • 2016 – Victoria Hawkins, Jim Hill
  • 2018 – Ruben Banks, Jim Hill

More Coverage:

Jim Hill High School Veterans Day Program, JPS ITV November 16, 2018