MMA Finds Help with Community Partners After $70,000 Worth of Uniforms Affected by Nu-Tone Building Fire

MMA Finds Help with Community Partners After $70,000 Worth of Uniforms Affected by Nu-Tone Building Fire

When approximately 150 Missouri Military Academy cadet uniforms worth more than $70,000 were affected by smoke and water as a result of the Feb. 3 fire that occurred in the apartment above Nu-Tone, the Academy’s dry-cleaning vendor, local community partners stepped up to help. The fire took place as the Academy cadets were preparing for two major events: Valentine’s Weekend and a trip for the MMA band, choir, and bagpipe cadets to compete at National Military School Band and Choir Festival competition in Lexington, Virginia, Feb. 16-18. The Academy was forced to adjust the uniforms of the day for Valentine’s Weekend and worked to have the uniforms quickly cleaned, assessed for serviceability and returned to cadets.

MMA contacted Robinson’s Cleaners in Columbia to arrange for cleaning. With the help and coordination of Mexico High School Band Director Josh Yancey, Mexico Public Schools Superintendent Melissa Chastain and Mexico High School Principal Brad Ellebracht, Mexico High School loaned their band trailer to allow for the easy pick-up and hanging of all uniforms to prevent more stains, wrinkles, and issues. MMA Deputy Commandant for Transportation and Security Jeff Howard and Deputy Commandant for Support and Quartermaster James Poettker worked together to oversee the transportation to and from Mexico to Columbia.

The uniforms were returned to campus this week, and after review, the Academy deemed all pants and dress blouses serviceable. However, 39 white dress shirts were deemed unserviceable. These shirts will be replaced at no cost to cadet families.


Mexico High School loaned their band trailer to MMA to help transport the affected uniforms to Columbia for cleaning.


MMA Deputy Commandant for Transportation and Security Jeff Howard and Deputy Commandant for Support and Quartermaster James Poettker unload uniforms newly cleaned by Robinson Cleaners.


“We are grateful to be part of the supportive mid-Missouri community,” says MMA President Brigadier General Richard V. Geraci, USA (Ret). “Through the work of our deputy commandants, Robinson's Cleaners owners Casey Smith and Kit Price, and Mexico Public Schools, we were able to minimize the lost time with the uniforms and ensure our cadets are meeting our high standards of appearance.”

At MMA, wearing uniforms links individual cadets into a collective unit, emphasizing shared purpose and camaraderie and highlighting a brotherhood that carries lifelong meaning and bonds. Uniforms also instill in cadets the importance of presenting oneself with pride and dignity, underscoring the significance of personal discipline, attention to detail and professionalism. Decorated with medals and ribbons earned through dedication and achievement, uniforms are tangible reminders of past successes and motivate cadets to achieve future goals. Uniforms also foster an environment of mutual respect and understanding; identical attire helps cadets avoid superficial judgments about each other, placing value on positive character traits above appearance.

MMA plans to continue its relationship with Nu-Tone after the dry cleaner is again operational and able to clean cadet uniforms.

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