Students Raise Money, Place Wreaths for Soldiers


MT. CRAWFORD, Va. (WHSV) -- Local elementary school students are raising money for wounded warriors and sending support to troops overseas.

What started as a new project for two classes turned into a way for students to know what sacrifices troops have made.

First and fifth graders placed wreaths with veterans on graves of fallen soldiers.

"It's really cool to honor people who have fought in the wars because I have an uncle and his son that work in the Army," said fifth grader Kaycee Carr.

"I like helping the soldiers to get money for them," said first grader Brayden Halterman.

Teachers say it's a way for students to learn early that freedom isn't free.

"Honoring those soldiers that have fallen for our country and to show them that our freedom has come at a price," said Dawn Flora, a teacher.

Students from Ottobine Elementary School presented local veterans with a $600 check to the Wounded Warrior Project. In addition to laying wreaths, students also painted windsocks and sold them to raise money for troops. The entire school also sent care packages, something veterans say makes a difference.

"I remember when I was in the service, the letters from home, the packages from home were very, very important for the morale. It just made it a little more easier to tolerate," said Earle "Buddy" Weekley, Junior, Senior Vice Commander for VFW.

It's a project veterans hope students will remember.

"Very important for them to understand that they have what they have because of what the people buried here have done in the past," said Vice Commander Weekley.

Teachers incorporated economics and money managing into the project. In addition, they hoped to instill some patriotism in students.

"When they hear Veteran's Day, when they hear Memorial Day, when they see a soldier, when we're at a parade in Harrisonburg, I know this is going to come back to them. And they're gonna understand it," said Flora.

Already, students are offering advice to the community.

"They can do it too and they could raise money for the Army and send care packages too," said Carr.

School members plan to expand the project next year.

Teachers Dawn Flora and Ann Komara organized the project for their classes and Ottobine Elementary School.

The Ladies Auxiliary to the Veterans of Foreign Wars also presented Flora and Komara with a youth activity award for the students' work. Materials for the project were funded by a Project TV 3 grant.


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