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Erving Elementary honors veterans 

  • Flanked by two Erving Elementary School students, Iraq Veteran Jason Allen, center, is introduced during a special Veterans Day ceremony in the school's gymnasium by Principal Jim Trill Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017. Recorder Staff/Andy Castillo

  • Flanked by two Erving Elementary School students, Iraq Veteran Jason Allen, center, is introduced during a special Veterans Day ceremony in the school's gymnasium by Principal Jim Trill Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017. Recorder Staff/Andy Castillo

  • Erving Elementary School students sing at a special Veterans Day event Thursday, Nov. 11, 2017. Recorder Staff/Andy Castillo

  • An Erving Elementary School student walks Erving Fire Chief Philip Wankka, a military veteran, into the gymnasium for a special Veterans Day event Thursday, Nov. 11, 2017. Recorder Staff/Andy Castillo

  • Army Veteran Chester Parda enjoys a special Veterans Day breakfast with students at Erving Elementary School Thursday, Nov. 11, 2017. Recorder Staff/Andy Castillo

  • Air Force Veterans Fred Blanchard, right, and Bruce Fowler, left, at Thursday's Veterans Day breakfast with students at Erving Elementary School, Nov. 11, 2017. Recorder Staff/Andy Castillo

  • World War II Army Veteran Evadene Keith at Thursday's Veterans Day breakfast with students at Erving Elementary School, Nov. 11, 2017. Recorder Staff/Andy Castillo

  • Veterans enjoyed a special Veterans Day breakfast with students at Erving Elementary School, Thursday, Nov. 11, 2017. Recorder Staff/Andy Castillo

  • A table commemorating Prisoners of War at Thursday's Veterans Day breakfast with students at Erving Elementary School, Nov. 11, 2017. Recorder Staff/Andy Castillo



Recorder Staff
Thursday, November 09, 2017

ERVING — Jason Allen approached the lectern at Erving Elementary School and began to tell a story from his time in Iraq.

He talked about a 12-year-old boy who worked on Allen’s military base. When Allen asked why the boy wasn’t in school, he said it was because his grandfather had spoken out against the government and they could not use public services anymore because of the dissent.

“I share that because we are very blessed in this country. We’re able to talk, and we’re able to say what we want.”

Allen was one of about 50 local veterans, ranging from those who served in Iraq to those who fought in World War II, who were honored by the school and students on Thursday morning.

For him, the school’s ceremony was personal: His mother Becky Allen works at the school, and when he was deployed to Iraq at age 19, it was the members of this school community that sent him care packages while he was fighting overseas.

“Because of this school, I received all sorts of care packages,” he said. “I’m so happy to come back and say thank you to the school and staff.”

The event included patriotic songs, the “Missing Man Table” ceremony, readings by students and remarks by school Principal Jim Trill. Trill, who is from England, said it was especially meaningful for him to have World War II veterans at the event, given his family’s memories of the war.

“The message to our children is that we need to take the time to honor those that serve for us,” he said.

The day started with a hot breakfast for the veterans at the school, a new addition to this year’s program. Organizer Michelle Fisher said the event has grown this year in numbers of veterans attending and what the school does in the ceremony. She said the school started this in 2013. She and Trill said not only does the program honor veterans, but it is also a way to teach the children about respect for those who have served. She said the students have been learning about Veterans Day and why we observe it, and participated in the preparation.

“Each class has its own part in everything,” Fisher said.

Reach Miranda Davis at 413-772-0261, ext. 280 or mdavis@recorder.com.