BVU senior earns Governor’s Cup ROTC award
Buena Vista University Army ROTC Cadet Jacob M. Heath was one of 10 ROTC members in Iowa to receive the Governor’s Cup ROTC Award for outstanding achievement. Iowa Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg made the presentation on April 12 at the Joint Forces Headquarters, Iowa National Guard, in Johnston.
Heath, a senior accounting and business major from Gretna, Neb., was joined at the event by his parents, Michelle Heath and Brian Heath.
Heath expressed gratitude to be able to serve with the BVU ROTC as he follows his father’s path; Brian Heath served in both the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Army.
“I’m grateful for what our country has given me,” said Heath, a former soccer captain at BVU. “This is now my turn to start paying it back.”
Heath earned an ROTC scholarship worth full tuition and room and board during his last three years at BVU. The financial aid push and the chance to be part of a larger organization in the military appealed to him. He gained his first military experience by drilling with Iowa State University ROTC cadets in Iowa once per semester at Camp Dodge in Johnston. He also completed a 32-day advance camp at Fort Knox, Kent., last summer.
As part of his service, he will serve four years of active duty with the Army following his graduation from BVU this May. “In August, I go to the Basic Officers Leadership Course for 16 weeks in Fort Huachuca, Ariz., and then I will be stationed with the U.S. Army 1st Infantry at Fort Riley, Kan.” he said. “I plan to become a military intelligence officer.”
Heath, who maintains a 3.81 grade-point average, notes that BVU has represented an ideal fit for his scholastic and career goals, and he’s indebted the leadership and time-management skills he’s honed through his ROTC involvement.
“BVU has been a good fit for me,” he said. “I’ve enjoyed the small class sizes and getting to know everyone in my classes and throughout campus. I’ve been challenged here academically, in sports, and in ROTC.”
The BVU Governor’s Cup ROTC honoree now looks forward to his May graduation, an event containing two ceremonies in one for him. Heath will process in cap and gown through the Arch with the Class of 2019. He will then remove the cap and gown and stand in his military dress blues inside Siebens Fieldhouse, site of Commencement.
“Following graduation, we have our commissioning ceremony, where I’ll take my oath and move from civilian to officer and receive my first salute from my father,” he said.
His mother and sister, Laura Heath, will then pin the rank of 2nd Lt. on Jacob Heath.
“From that moment on,” he says, “I’m a U.S. Army officer.”