Rando Fund assist cadets in times of grief

Five classmates of Cadet First Class Kaleb Estes attended his May 20 funeral in Alabama as pallbearers and representatives of the Air Force Academy.

The Dennis P. Rando Cadet Humanitarian Fund, administered by the USAFA Endowment, pays for cadets to travel to services of their fallen colleagues. The fund is named for Cadet First Class Dennis Rando, who died in 1996. When the USAFA Cadets Parents’ Association of Eastern Massachusetts discovered the cadets who comprised the Academy honor guard paid their own travel expenses to Rando’s funeral, they led a fundraising initiative among USAFA parents clubs nationwide to reimburse the cadets. The successful support for the effort led to the creation of the Rando Fund and ongoing fundraising efforts to provide similar support to cadets honoring their fallen classmates.

“By providing pallbearing services to families, we take what could be considered a burden off their list of things to account for, and we put it in the hands of our future officers and our teammate’s close friends,” said Capt. Anthony Hemphill, assistant director of cadet athletic programs who was the interim air officer commanding Estes' squadron. He helped coordinate the cadet honor guard’s travel to Estes’ funeral. “It also allows the Air Force Academy to extend our care and support to the families of our fallen cadets a little further.”

Mark Volcheff, president and CEO of the USAFA Endowment, echoed Hemphill’s sentiment.

“It is an honor for us to coordinate the Rando Fund to assist families and classmates during their time of grief,” he said. “We are an extension of the Long Blue Line, which means we rally together to support the Academy and its cadets. The leadership and support provided by parent clubs across the country are an example to us all.”

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