Message from the F-HEF Chairman





225 South Wayne Avenue

Waynesboro, VA 22980

April 2, 2020

My fellow alumni and Fishburne family members:

Since Fishburne Military School was founded in 1879, challenges have faced the school from World Wars, economic crises and societal changes that created struggles to fill the barracks. Through it all, for 141 years, the school has survived and endured.

We can take pride in the work of the last quarter century as we built endowment, refurbished the barracks, constructed two new buildings, and made purchases that now give us ownership of the entire block. We’ve restored two structures across the street and fixed the front field. All in all, that had placed us in a good position facility-wise to operate moving forward.

And now we have Covid-19, a global pandemic that is by far the greatest risk to the survival of the school since its sale to the city in 1951 and then conversion to a nonprofit.

This pandemic will leave no country, no company, no school, and probably no individual untouched in some way. Statistically, it’s likely that some of our brothers or family members or work colleagues will fall victim to this pandemic.

Fishburne Military School, is, of course, affected. Cadets are back at home, learning online. Right now, there are many things we can’t predict simply because we don’t know when we can sound some semblance of an all-clear. Summer school? Opening in September? Will cadets return? Will we even be a choice they want next year? The unknowns can seem overwhelming.

On the plus side, we have a talented Board. We have a great administrative team. We have alumni who love the school.

So, we eat the sandwich one bite at a time. We are attacking the short term issues. We are creating plans so that both the Admissions and Development Departments are ready to act the moment we can. We are developing financial scenarios that take into account both estimated enrollment and the possible need to reduce staff.

We are looking at the massive stimulus just approved by Congress to see what small business help is available for us there. Beyond that, we will leverage our connections in Washington, Richmond and Waynesboro to obtain the most favorable legislative outcomes we can to solve issues. We will apply our talents — individually and collectively — where needed and help where we can. Each of us needs to step up to the plate and do our part. We may need hands-on help, advice, or a constructive review of proposals.

We need each of you to be ready to heed the call when it comes. What we know now is only that this disaster will test us as never before. The world has changed, our personal circumstances are changing, and our ability to commit to the struggle ahead may be beyond our control. It is understood just as your love for our school is understood.

In this kind of battle, there’s little chance for reward for any of us as individuals. But for those of us who work together to save the school, we’ll have the satisfaction that comes from fighting the good fight.

I am big on quotes because I think they offer me clarity of purpose and inspiration. There are two I use to send to the new Cadet Battalion Commander every year that I think are appropriate for our circumstances. The first is JFK’s call to duty as Americans in January of 1961:

“Now the trumpet summons us again – not as a call to bear arms, though arms we need; not as a call to battle, though embattled we are – but as a call to bear the burden of a long twilight struggle, year in and year out, “rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation” a struggle against the common enemies of man: tyranny, poverty, disease, and war itself.”

The second is Teddy Roosevelt’s speech given 110 years ago next month in Paris, France:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

I can’t predict the future and whether we win or lose may well be beyond our control. I can say this: Fishburne’s trumpet is sounding loud and clear calling us to battle and we will never, never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.

I hope all of you and yours are well. Follow guidance, be smart, and let’s hope that in six to eight weeks we can see a light.



Ted Moroney


FHEF, Inc.