Local Veterans Honored at Luncheon
Posted On:
Saturday, November 11, 2017
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Both active military members and veterans were invited to Veterans Park School on Thursday, November 9th, for a special Veterans Day luncheon to honor their service to our country. The military guests included fathers, grandfathers, mothers, uncles, aunts and friends who had received an invitation to attend the event by a Veterans Park student.

“Veterans Day is a time to acknowledge the sacrifice of the men and women who have served, or are currently serving in our military,” shared Melissa Knowles, Veterans Park School Principal.  “This year we wanted to expand the awareness of our students about the importance of honoring our military on Veterans Day and came up with the idea for a luncheon with the theme- Home of the free because of the brave.”

“All students were given the opportunity to invite a family member or friend with a military background, to the luncheon,” continued Knowles.  “They also  prepared a slide within a Google Presentation with information about their guest’s military service;  we played it in the cafeteria during all lunches for the entire school community to see.” View the presentation below.

4th grader Ariana Malave was excited to have her father, Jeremy Malave, at the event. “I invited my Dad because he is a Veteran (Army) and is special to me. I’m really happy he’s here!”

The elder Malave replied, “It’s a great opportunity to spend time, not only with my daughter, but to show her classmates that there are many veterans in their community and neighborhoods.”

Wounded Warrior, Eddie Platt (Army), was invited to the event by his son, 4th grader, John Calkins. “I invited my Dad because he is the most active military person I know - and I love him - he’s my Dad!”

Platt explained that he lost his lower leg in 2003 as a result of an RPG (rocket-propelled grenade) while serving in Northern Iraq.  “It’s a blessing that Veterans Park is encouraging their students to learn about veterans, and their sacrifice for our country.  I am honored to be here with my son.”

Ronald Masnicki, Army National Guard, was invited to the event by his grandson, 5th grader Benjamin Presz who shared, “I’m proud of my grandfather’s service to our country’s Army.”

Masnicki commented that he appreciated the efforts of the school to take the time to celebrate Veterans Day and educate students about veterans.  “I’m honored to be here with my grandson and so many other veterans - sharing our experiences in a positive and healthy atmosphere with these wonderful students.  I am proud to serve our country.”

Sgt. Major Dennis Smith, U.S. Army Reserves, was invited by his niece, 4th grader, Giani Perez. Perez explained that she had invited her grandfather, retired Marine and current U.S. Army National Guard Master Sgt. Alberto Perez, but he was unable to attend due to a prior commitment. “I’m happy my uncle is here today to meet my friends and teachers, since my grandfather couldn’t be.  I’m really proud of both of them for all they do to keep us free!”

Smith commented that he was happy to fill in for Giani’s grandfather, “It’s an honor to be here with Giani. I love being able to give back and educate these kids about veterans and the sacrifices we make serving our country.”

“Families also sacrifice when we are deployed and away from home for extended periods of time,” added Smith, sharing that he has been deployed twice, to the Middle East.

Thanks to the support of the Veterans Park Lion’s Shack school store and LUSO Federal Credit Union each of the special guests were treated to a special meal including chicken francaise, salad, garlic bread and cookies, for dessert. The meal was served to the military guests by members of the the 5th grade Outreach classes, to rave reviews.

When the luncheon ended, as the Veterans left the school and students returned to their classrooms the words shared by Wounded Warrior Eddie Platt silently echoed in the hallways, “The greatest tragedy of war is being forgotten.  Today my son, and his school, remembered.  They remembered all veterans in a very meaningful way.”

 Photo video of students with their military guests.


Thank you for your help serving lunch to our military guests.

 Sophia White, Taylor Colberg, Jacob Sternowski, Emma Sadler, Ashley Schoolcraft, Ashton Leary

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