Veterans humbled by program In their honor

REED CITY — G.T. Norman Elementary School was full of patriotic pride as staff and students opened their doors to community veterans and families with a program honoring their service.

For weeks, students started every morning singing patriotic songs to prepare for the special day. They created artwork that filled the hallways with signs of freedom. Pictures of family members who have served or are currently serving were brought to school to be part a slideshow welcoming the wall to wall crowd. Teachers, students and many volunteers put a lot of work into the ceremony.

The Pledge of Allegiance is part of the students’ daily routine and there was no better way to start a Veterans Day program. After a touching video montage of soldiers serving overseas created by Mrs. Denise Nelson, students presented Martha Jones with a yellow ribbon to be tied on the American Flag, wishing them all a safe return. Unfortunately, some of those soldiers do not make it home.

Choked with emotion, James McIntosh spoke of those soldiers who gave the ultimate sacrifice for this country. For one kindergartener, Gabe Young, this was something he knew all too well. Gabe’s older brother, Army National Guard SPC Brad Shilling, was killed in 2006 during his tour in Iraq. A graduate of Reed City Schools, he was known and loved by many in the community. Gabe lit a candle in honor of his brother and every soldier who lost their lives to preserve our freedom.

Students were also given the opportunity to give back to a local veteran. They purchased American flag wristbands and signed the back of a beautiful quilt handcrafted by teacher Vicky Bowman. During the ceremony this quilt was presented to Don Wein, a Vietnam Veteran who had recently lost everything in a house fire.

“When the country needed him, he was there,” said Pam Bloom. “It was our turn to be there for him.

Along with many of the care packages Bloom organizes and sends to soldiers overseas, she hopes to be able to do this every year, donating the sales from the wristband to having a new quilt made.

Third grader, Dylan Powers, was one of the students who signed the quilt. He proudly said he was doing it because, “they do so much to help us. Veterans are important.”