On Wednesday, November 9, 2016, Mispillion Elementary School held a Veteran’s Appreciation Program. Students were encouraged to invite veterans to attend the program where they were honored by staff and students.
“I am a veteran and my husband is as well,” said Alyssa Boyer, a teacher at the school. “This is one of my favorite programs each year as we get to honor those who protect our freedom.” After her introduction, students took the stage, asking members of each branch of the military to stand and be recognized for their service.
Doug Strong, who is a member of the United States Coast Guard, was the guest speaker at the program. Mr. Strong explained that the Coast Guard is one of the smallest branches of the military with approximately 40,000 members. He told those in attendance that although it was small, it was the oldest branch of the military.
“I take great pride in serving in the military,” Mr. Strong said. “I have been able to travel around the world because we have duty stations around the world. I chose the Coast Guard because there were a lot of career opportunities. I wanted to go into law enforcement and found that a military background is helpful for that career choice. I also knew I wanted to do something that would help change people’s lives.”
Mr. Strong showed a video of the types of things members of the Coast Guard did to protect freedom around the world. After the video, he took questions from the students. When asked if he had ever jumped from a helicopter like the video showed, he said that he had not but that he had been trained in how to do so if it should ever be required.
After the presentation, students and their veteran guests were invited to share refreshments in the cafeteria. John Case IV, whose dad, John Case III, attended the event said that he was very proud of the fact that his father served in the military. Mr. Case has served in the Army National Guard for 18 years.
“It is hard when he isn’t home,” John said. “When he is gone, it is more work for me, but I think it is great he is a soldier. It is a great way to serve your country.” Mr. Case has been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. Eric Daniel was at the program with his grandchildren, J.D. and Desi Hastings.
Mr. Daniel served two tours with the Marines and was in the Navy. He served in Vietnam and was stationed in several locations around the world. In his 23 years in the service, Mr. Daniels served as a dental technician and a corpsman.
“I think it is awesome that he was in the military,” J.D. said. “It makes me feel like he is a hero.”
Richard Frick was also attending the event with his granddaughter, Kiersten Todd. He served four years in the Navy as a signalman in the Mediterranean and Caribbean.
“I am very happy he served,” Kiersten said. “I think it is very patriotic. He served his country and I think he saved people. That makes me happy.”