By David Fleet
Ortonville-The students and soilders were generations and worlds apart. But on Wednesday vetrans from Korea and in the Vietnam era visited students at Harvey Swanson Elementary. For the past three years members of the Ortonville VFW Post 582 provided a flag folding presentation and discussed their military service just prior to Veterans Day, Nov. 11.
“Many students asked if we had been wounded,” said Dennis Hoffman, VFW post commander. “Honestly some of us have been. Some asked about the use of dogs in service often used to sniff out explosives.
They ask about the job we did in the military. Some students say they plan on going into military after school. About 90 percent say they know what a veteran is but very few knew what VFW stood for or its function.”
Hoffman said many students discuss grandparents or other family members who have served.
“Today many of the student’s parents were in the Iraq wars in the 1990s,” he said. “There’s more recognition today among the youth then 50 years ago. If I or any veteran wears a hat that identifies our service many people will stop, shake your hand and say thank you for your service. It’s way more common today than ever.”
At Goodrich High School 18-year-old Brianna Saroli honored area service men and women through her senior Capstone project by coordinating a fundraiser for the Veterans Foreign Wars. Saroli’s project recognizes her grandfather Jerome Sikora, a WWII veteran who served in Guam. Sikora was wounded in action, returned home and received a Purple Heart. In addition, the project also honors grandfather Otis Jack St. John, also a WWII veteran who served in Guam.
“Donations to the VFW are very important for the support of our veterans as they return home,” she said. “Anything that we can do to help with their health care, other services, and housing takes them one step closer to getting all that they need as they return to civilian life.”
A donation of $5 or more, submit the name of a veteran or a current military member, which will be placed in recognition on the Memorial Veteran’s Wall in the high school hallway. The deadline is Nov. 15. All donations will go to the Ortonville VFW. Make checks payable to the Goodrich Area Schools and include the name of honored military person on the check.
Mail or drop off to Goodrich High School, 8029 S. Gale Road, Goodrich Mich., 48438,