Students Do Their Part For Honor Flight Vets
September 12, 2011, 7:39 PM
SIOUX FALLS, SD -
Honor Flight in South Dakota was started with the expectation that one or maybe two flights would take off to Washington, D.C. But, because of so much generosity, that blossomed into many more flights. Some of that money came from the youngest generations.
"It's important for the veterans who served us to go on trips and stuff like that," Parker sixth grader Lacey Thompson said.
Each year, students in Parker try to do something for the veterans in the community. In 2009, they decided that project would be to raise money Honor Flight. Students came up with $500, plus the women of the Parker VFW Auxiliary chipped in $1,000 on top of that. It was enough to punch two tickets to D.C.
"It's great the kids were involved and also the parents, I'm sure, were involved in it. And we appreciate everything they're doing for us because this has been over 60 years ago and to be appreciated now, it's really something special to us, yes," Parker veteran Pete Gortmaker said.
In Redfield, sixth grade students earned $40 from their teacher over the course of a year, but instead of buying something for themselves, they bought a gift basket to sell raffle tickets to go toward the cause.
"We could have used it for pizza or something, but we decided to use it for the veterans who aren't getting any younger," sixth grader Wesley Rothacker said.
Those tickets brought in more than $400.
Children in Coleman-Egan collected pennies, sold candy and root beer floats and wrote letters to businesses asking for donations. And they did very well.
"They sacrificed so much every day for us, I think we need to do a little bit for them," Colman-Egan third grader Avery Mersch said.
The goal was to raise $750, but thanks to the community's generosity students were able to present a check on Veterans day in 2009 for $5,200.
Students at Tri-Valley also teamed up and raised $5,000, enough money to send seven vets to Washington, D.C. For one of the vets who accepted the gift, the day was extra special.
"It's an honor to be a World War Two veteran. It's an honor to be here today and to have my grandson escort me to the stage, and I thank the elementary school kids who raised the money to help send me to Washington, D.C.," veteran Joe Schartz said.
Many of the students who stepped up to raise money had personal connections with those who served the country, then and now.
"My brother is in the reserves right now and I think it is the best thing to do for these guys," student Mindy Moe said.
Moe helped her fellow Brandon Valley students collect money through assemblies and fundraisers. Right before the tenth flight, the school presented a check for a whopping $6,000.
It was a special thank you for a generation that gave them so much.
"I just think it is wonderful. They couldn't have done a better thing than to send all these veterans out there. It's a wonderful trip," Honor Flight passenger Curtis Eggers said.
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