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Long County schools support veterans

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POSTED: November 18, 2009 10:36 a.m.
Photo by Mike Riddle/

Capt. Katresha and 1st Sgt. Tim Lebouf stand with Quaineilus Bacon, Julian Fonseca, Xavier Menard, Brandon Napier, Destinie Barren, and O'Neshawa Henry. The Smiley Elementary School students are holding some of the letters that will be sent to deployed soldiers.

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Long County Schools had programs Nov. 10-12 to honor active duty soldiers and veterans.
On Nov. 11, Long County High School coordinated its first annual Long County High School Veterans Day observance.
About 30 veterans from all branches of service lined up outside the gym and marched in as students and faculty cheered. Once seated, Assistant Principal Scotty Grimes welcomed the crowd and stressed to everyone that rights like freedom of the press, speech and demonstration exist thanks to the American soldiers who fought for them.
After Caleb Bailey led the Pledge of Allegiance, the LCHS band played the National Anthem and history teacher Michael Falk shared with everyone the history of Veterans Day.
Student Maxianne Tria gave a speech and the band played The Battle Hymn of the Republic.
Army recruiter SFC Patrick Lowe introduced the first keynote speaker, SFC Matthew Chipman, who is assigned to the 188th Infantry Brigade at Fort Stewart.
Chipman said, “Hopefully, vets from the past have taught us to appreciate the freedoms in our lives, and not to take them for granted.”
After Chipman, 1st Sgt. Raul Rios Jr., who is assigned to the Army Recruiting Command in Savannah, spoke. He began by defining the word veteran.
“Ordinary people accomplishing extraordinary things, that’s what I see a vet to be. All the freedoms we have today are ours because of their sacrifices,” he said.
Rios said fewer than 10 percent of the men and women in the United States have served in the armed services, but the few who serve have faced many challenges, ranging from communism to terrorism.
Next, Superintendent Dr. Robert Waters praised the students and the band for their participation. He also thanked the veterans. “We want to honor those men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice, and also those who were prepared to make that sacrifice,” he said.
The crowd paused for a moment of silence to honor all veterans and LCHS band director Myron Grimes played Taps.
Each veteran at the ceremony received a certificate of appreciation for their service to the country and thank you notes from the students. After the ceremony, the vets enjoyed refreshments.
On Nov. 12, Capt. Katresha Bailey and First Sergeant Tim Lebouf visited Smiley Elementary School to pick up letters the students had written for soldiers serving in Iraq and training at Fort Irwin, Calif.
Bailey and Lebouf, who are both assigned to Fort Stewart, said they were happy to accept the letters on behalf of all active duty soldiers.
“Gestures like this motivates all of the soldiers who are away from home, whether they are deployed or training,” Bailey said. “Them knowing that these little people look up to them is awesome.”
“The soldiers really do appreciate things like these letters. It really goes along way,” Lebouf said.
The event was organized by third-grade teacher and vet Drew Toney, who said that in addition to honoring the active duty soldiers, Smiley Elementary recognized five employees at the school on Wednesday who are veterans.
On Nov. 10, Walker Middle School served refreshments to all veterans who dropped by the school.
 

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