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Serving those who served

CCA Middle School students welcome and feed local veterans
Terry Watson and his grandson and sixth-grader A.J. Smith pose for a photo by Linda Watson Monday, Nov. 12, in the commons area of Clear Creek Amana Middle School in Tiffin. CCA students served breakfast to veterans in commemoration of Veterans Day. (photo by Chris Umscheid)

TIFFIN– Elizabeth, a seventh-grader at the Clear Creek Amana (CCA) Middle School summed up why she and several other students eagerly crowded behind tables of food, donned plastic gloves and served breakfast to a group of veterans.
“They helped for us, so we’d like to help out for them.”
Veterans and their families filled the commons area in the school Monday, Nov. 12, for the annual Springmier Community Library Veterans Celebration, which featured breakfast including casseroles, rolls, breakfast pizza, oatmeal and biscuits and gravy.
Library Director Kris Petersen said the event was designed with two purposes in mind: “To thank our veterans, and so our kids understand about Veterans Day. They talk about it in their classrooms, they’ve been making placemats and a group made cards.” Students also helped decorate for the event, in addition to staffing the serving line, refilling coffee and milk and distributing letters of appreciation to the vets at the conclusion of the meal. Petersen coordinated the event with considerable assistance from the Parent Teacher Group (PTG) and teachers.
Middle school band students performed by opening the event with “Taps” on a pair of trumpets creating an echo; Emily Bernacki played “The Star Spangled Banner” on guitar; and later, the trumpeters provided their rendition of the national anthem as well, bringing the crowd to their feet with salutes and hands over their hearts.
Veterans moving through the chow line added their unique blend of humor, with one heard saying, “Whatever it is, it has to be better than anything out of a tin can,” referring to the infamous C-Rations soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines ate in the field prior to the introduction of the contemporary Meal, Ready to Eat, or MRE. One vet waited until the very end before stepping up and filling his plate. “I quit standing in line a long time ago when I got out,” he quipped.
Caden, a sixth-grader in the serving line was asked why he volunteered for the event. “I love making breakfast for other people,” he said, “and they served for us so we can have all of the freedom that we get right now, so that’s why I wanted to do this.”
Bre, an eighth-grader said, “It’s a fun thing to do… We like to help out.” Bre’s classmate, Natalie, added, “I’ve done it every year here, and it’s really nice because you see the same people come through every year, but then you also get new people. You make friends, and it’s a great way to meet veterans and thank them.”