This past August, those that aged out of the 2014 Phantom Regiment received a very special gift from the Regiment, courtesy of the PRAA. Their helmet! Yes, each member learned at the end of the season that they would be allowed to keep their helmet (with plume) and those who did not actually wear a helmet as part of their uniform (color guard and front ensemble), would receive a brand new helmet.
The Helmet Project as its been called, has been in the works for some time, as those within the management structure of the organization have tried to come up with a parting gift for the members that would be truly special - something to be cherished for years to come. The PRAA board was brought in, both for their opinions and to help with funding. And the PRAA was happy to take on the project. ”This is a perfect fit for the Alumni Association” said Alumni Association president Ron Schulz. ”As former members we all know how important it is for members to be able to take a piece of their experience with them as they transition out of the corps.”
”This decision was not made lightly” said Dan Farrell, corps director and program coordinator. Questions were asked, such as: Does this devalue the helmet? Are we worried about someone disrespecting the helmet, once its out of our sight? What about all of those that have worn the helmet previously, but will not have this chance? And while those are all valid concerns, each was discussed and the decision was made that the project should move ahead. From Executive Director, Rick Valenzuela, ”Weve always wanted our age-outs to be able to walk away with some kind of tangible reminder of their days with Phantom Regiment. With the help of the Alumni Association, we can do that in a way that shows our great appreciation for their time and talent.”
The members were thrilled when they heard the news at the banquet on the Sunday morning after DCI Championships. Ron Schulz told all in atendance that not only would the brass and battery receive their helmets but also the guard and front ensemble, receiving great applause and cheering. What better memento to take away, than the iconic headgear that has symbolized the Phantom Regiment since 1975.