Sandy Thomas and the Joe Foss Institute 4

Veterans Bring Civics and Patriotism Back to the Classroom

The Joe Foss Institute is all about instilling patriotic values in area youth by visiting local schools. Claude “Sandy” Thomas, local businessman and former Army officer, often accompanied by WWII veteran Hap Chandler, makes it a personal mission to teach children in our community citizenship and civics. In the military, Thomas explains, you take an oath to protect and defend the Constitution. So it’s imperative that we understand just what that means and pass that understanding on to the next generation.  “Despite its flaws, the United States has become in a short period of time the greatest country in the world. And it’s a place that folks from all over the world want to come to because of this concept: freedom.” Thomas goes on to say that it’s often easy when you have this freedom to take it for granted. “You must with know about it and appreciate it. Freedom is an individual thing that you must learn about and support.”

Thomas has visited over 22 schools in the last 6 years, public, private and parochial, throughout the counties in the metro area including Fulton, Fayette, and Cobb counties. “Sometimes I find myself preaching to the choir but I always get a positive response.” Thomas is a strong believer that through family, school and personal education you have the responsibility to learn about freedom. “It’s important to keep these things going.”

More about the Joe Foss Institute (JFI)

Named after General Joe Foss, an ace fighter pilot and Congressional Medal of Honor decorated Marine who made it his mission to instruct children on leadership, patriotism, citizenship and his own faith.  After his return from WWII, he eventually became the youngest Governor of South Dakota at 39 and the commissioner of the American Football League.  He helped to develop the concept of the Super Bowl. Founded in 2011, the Joe Foss Institute is active nationwide and also provides college scholarships and American flags and poster-sized copies of the founding documents for classrooms. The Civics Education Initiative is particularly crucial in a climate where subjects such as the arts and social sciences like civics have been eliminated in favor of an overwhelmingly math and science focused STEM curriculum. In many cases, American students are unable to pass the civics test that all immigrants must pass to gain citizenship in the United States. This is why the Joe Foss Institute exists, to eradicate this problem.

“We can’t expect them to understand patriotism if they don’t understand how they got where they are,” according to Foss.

For more information, please visit 
or call 1.855.JOE.FOSS (1.855.563.3677)