Efforts to start a Navy League in the Aiken-Augusta area are continuing , and the leader of the movement said there's been solid interest in forming the support group.
Lt. Cmdr. Ron Freeman, who spent 20 years in the Navy and is now the Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps instructor at Silver Bluff High School, said that more than two dozen people attended an organizational meeting last month and that a handful of others have expressed interest in helping start the group.
The Navy League is a nonprofit group that supports all U.S. sea services - the Navy, Coast Guard, merchant marine and Marine Corps, he said.
"We're trying to get it going," Lt. Cmdr. Freeman said. "We've got at least 26 people who want to be members, but now we need organization and guidance."
Started by President Theodore Roosevelt, the league provides public support and is open to everyone except active military.
Lt. Cmdr. Freeman said the local league would operate on a small scale, possibly giving awards and working with Sea Scouts, a Boy Scout movement that also trains on water.
Lt. Cmdr. Freeman said he decided to start the local group after his JROTC unit won an award from the national league and there was no local affiliate to actually deliver it. The closest Navy League was in Columbia.
National league officials suggested he start one.
The next step, he said, will be to meet with people who are interested in helping start the league. After the league gets on its feet, Lt. Cmdr. Freeman said, it will continue with his cooperation but not his leadership.
"I would like to see it succeed," he said. "but I don't think I can devote the time it needs."
Reach Sandi Martin at (803) 648-1395, ext. 111, or firstname.lastname@example.org.