By Morgan Cox ’24
SFC (Ret.) Alan Conrad has faithfully served the Concordia family as a JROTC Army Instructor for 29 years. He and his wife, Gyneth, are alumni from the graduating Class of 1977, and both have committed abundant time and energy into making Concordia’s JROTC program highly successful.
Conrad enlisted in the U.S. Army right after his graduation from Concordia. He served for 17 years in active duty, as well as continued service through the instruction and mentoring of JROTC students — in all, a total of 46 years of dedication to others.
“Every year is unique, and has great memories with it — the kids, the smiles, the laughter is what I remember most,” he said.
A special moment that he noted was Concordia’s Cadets in Cadence Auction in which the Cadet Battalion honored him with a song and celebration of his retirement. Another memory was of an outstanding Battalion Staff who went in uniform to his mother’s funeral.
Returning to Concordia’s JROTC program was something special for Conrad and something that he always wanted to do. He credited the opportunity to SGT Miller.
“What I really liked the most was hanging out with SGT Miller,” he said. “By the time you were a senior, you could walk into the armory where his office was, sit down, drink coffee with him, and it was just spectacular. I always thought when I graduated, I knew I was going into the army, that I wanted to come back and be SGT Miller. That’s what I wanted … I told the instructors who were here (while I was serving) that they only had until I retired, then I was coming back and taking their job.”
Because of an early retirement option from the Army, Conrad was able to return to his alma mater.
“(SFC has always been a) standard-bearer for the traditions of Concordia Lutheran High School. He’s proud of being part of this history as both a Cadet and an Instructor,” said MAJ John Sheaffer, who works alongside Conrad in the JROTC program. He added that Conrad's experience as an instructor at Concordia was especially significant because of his personal history as a student at the school.
“SFC is a major part behind all of our experiences and events that we have had through CLHS,” said junior Daisy Buell, a current LET III Cadet. “With him, I have learned the value and importance of respect, honor, organization and especially selfless service.”
They are then putting their skills to work in the real world.
“The program taught me a lot about being a leader in everyday life, and the experience brought me out of my shell. From SFC Conrad I learned about the importance of initiative and how I can apply myself to benefit the community,” said 2021 graduate and JROTC Cadet Evan Cox.
In retirement, Conrad looks forward to spending time with grandkids, traveling with his wife, and catching up on his fishing.
The Cadets know that his legacy will continue to live on within the JROTC Program, always striving to reach that standard of service that he exemplified throughout his time at Concordia.