Veterans honored at Elk Lake Schools
BY PAT FARNELLI
Elk Lake Elementary students came prepared to honor local service members Thursday during the school’s two Veteran’s Day assemblies.
Children filed in wearing red white and blue hats and carrying paper flags, and sang “You’re a Grand Old Flag,” “This Land is Your Land,” and inspirational songs “Bless Our Troops,” and “We Will Not Forget.”
The Junior High School Band, led by Miss McDonald, played “The Star Spangled Banner,” and several patriotic medleys. “Taps” was played at the first assembly by David Cooper, high school band director, and by a group of Junior High School Band trumpet players at the second assembly.
Post Commander David Jenner of Post #154 Montrose American Legion, spoke on the sacrifices and experiences of U.S. veterans.
The Fifth and Sixth Grade Chorus, under the direction of Barbara Holbert, sang an arrangement of “America the Beautiful.”
Veterans attending the elementary school assemblies included David Jenner. U.S. Army, Viet Nam; Dan Albertson, U.S. Army, Viet Nam era in the Pacific and Caribbean; Ken Matthews, U.S. Navy, Viet Nam; Jim Flynn, U.S. Navy, Viet Nam; Carroll Stamford, Army Air Corps, WWII; Robert Tiffany, U.S. Navy, Viet Nam; Fred Baker II, U.S. Army, Viet Nam; AD2 Charles Baker, U.S. Navy, War in Iraq and presently a recruiter; and Salene Herman, U.S. Army, 1993-2001.
Jim McKevitt, U.S. Army, Viet Nam, was planning to attend, but broke his leg Wednesday, and Ray Conklin, U.S. Army WW II, is recuperating at Gracious Living after a hospital stay.
Two of Tiffany’s grandsons sat with their grandfather at the head of the assembly: Trenton Finch and Allan Tiffany, both Elk Lake students.
Selected sixth grade students read from their essays as part of a traditional essay contest at Elk Lake. Kayla Winningham, Catey McAleer, Elisha Newhart, Daniel Bell, Nadya Beasley, and Julie Van Etten were among those whose essays were chosen as the best on the Veteran’s Day theme.
Kayla Wittingham had an essay full of personal examples. Two of her great-grandfathers, Bernie Young and William Wyda, served in World War II, and her grandfather, Robert Black, is also a veteran. “My great grandfather Bernie Young was wounded on a U2 boat in World War II, and received a Purple Heart and Medal of Honor,” she said.
Next door at the Elk Lake Senior High School, Ashley Raines was the coordinator of an Assembly for Veterans, as part of her senior project.
In the high school auditorium, the Elk Lake concert band played patriotic songs and the Sweet Adelines sang the National Anthem and “America the Beautiful.”
Speakers included Fred Baker II, U.S. Army, Viet Nam; Will Squier, U.S. Navy; James Gregory, U.S. Navy; Charles S. Baker, U.S. Navy; Ed Silver, U.S. Navy; and Ed Raines, U.S. Navy.
Silver is Ms. Raines’ grandfather, and Raines is her father.
Speaker Charles Baker told of his enlisting in August, 2001 on a delayed entry basis. “A few weeks later, the worst attack ever on our shores occurred, and so I went to boot camp two weeks after September 11,” he said. “I was asked, “Why are you here?” and I answered, “I’m here to defend America.”
Samantha Mills, Elk Lake student, was introduced as a future member of the U.S. Navy.
A color guard comprised of four historically costumed U.S. soldiers marched into and out of the auditorium and presented the flags. Members of the PA 109th Volunteer include Henry Pospiezalski, Robert Brostoski, Matthew Barlow, and Patrick Burke.