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Veterans saluted in Harrison County

November 10, 2012
By ESTHER MCCOY - Staff writer ( , The Herald-Star

HOPEDALE - A gymnasium filled with pupils, veterans and village residents was treated to a musical tribute to veterans of Harrison County at the annual "Saluting Our American Veterans" program held Friday at Harrison East Elementary School.

Sgt. Eric Wilson of the Harrison County Sheriff's Department put together the tribute, with pictures of county veterans in their military uniforms dating back to World War II and through all subsequent wars. The song "Hero" was played during the segment.

The Hopedale American Legion Post 682 members, Jay Kolenc an officer with the Legion and Rick Brown, chaplain, posted colors to begin the program. Andy Atkins, Veterans Service commander and Harrison County commander, played taps at the conclusion.

Article Photos

Esther McCoy
THANK YOU — Don Jochims, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7477 commander, was thanked for his service by Dylan Wade, a Harrison East Elementary School pupil, following the Veteran’s Day program Friday at the school.

Don Jochims, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7477 commander, stood at attention while pupils, as well as other veterans, filed by to offer their thanks.

Sandra Leggett, principal, gave the welcome, and said there were 10 military veterans in her family. She said she has a great appreciation for their service.

"We offer our deepest thanks for what you have done for us," she said.

Sgt. Eric Wilson introduced the guest speaker, Staff Sgt. E-6 Tom Smith, who also works at the sheriff's department.

Smith, who was deployed to Fort McHenry in Iraq in 2006-07 and Camp Phoenix in Afghanistan in 2011-12, explained servicemen and women have various jobs, such as doctors, nurses and firefighters. He explained he was a drill instructor.

In asking pupils what they thought a drill instructor's job would entail, one pupil said doing dishes, and another said, "a person who trains others."

Smith told the youngsters that one way to honor veterans, besides thanking them for their service, is to be a good pupil and do the right thing-even when no one is looking.

"Do what you are asked to do and work hard at it," he told the pupils prior to thanking them for the opportunity to share his experiences with them.

Smith recently was honorably discharged, and during his service he was awarded the Iraq Campaign Medal, with two stars; the Army commendation medal, twice; Army Reserves Component Achievement Medal, twice; National Defense Service Medal; Afghanistan Campaign Medal, with two stars; Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; Army Service Ribbon; Overseas Service Ribbon, twice; Armed Forces Reserve Medal; NATO Medal; Combat Action Badge; and Drill Sergeant Badge.

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