Donations Pour In To Support Watkins Memorial Marching Band After Theft By Former Treasurer


A local high school marching band is drumming up support after it was devastated by one of its own.

Last week, the former treasurer of Watkins Memorial High School's Marching Band Booster Club was indicted for theft and accused of stealing $67,000 that was supposed to support the students.

But the community has stepped up, and the marching band's drumline will get a check for $16,000.

Inside the music room at Watkins Memorial High School, the marching band is ready to work despite a devastating blow.

"When the news came down, obviously the kids were devastated and for many of them, it was learning about the news first hand, and for the first time,” says band director Kenneth Hoffman.

Ernest "Todd" Bowers, the band's booster club's former treasurer, was indicted last Thursday.  According to investigators, Bowers allegedly used funds for his personal use, including adult entertainment, trips, and gas.

Hoffman says some of the stolen money was earmarked to replace aging equipment, but he says, students decided not to let it get them down.

However, they soon found a community ready to get the positive feeling going.  Hoffman said, “The community supporting us and the speed at which they do it is humbling, it really is and it lets us know that we are valued here and what we are doing is worthwhile."

He says many people have donated money, as well as a 26-foot trailer to help transport equipment to shows.

During a competition Monday night, representatives from Columbus Pro Percussion, the Jersey Surf, Pacific Crest, and Blue Knights will present them with a check for $16,000 to help them buy new drums.

Hoffman says the donations will help the band get back on its feet, but what it has done for the students, is priceless.

"They find a niche here in the arts and for the community to respond, positively, and say we recognize what you are doing and we love what you are doing and we want you to continue, I think that means the world to them."

The marching band still needs to raise $6,500 to purchase the new drums.  The students and their parents say they are excited for the challenge because they know everyone is behind them.