by Jim Boyle
With Veterans Day falling this past weekend, local schools made sure not to miss a chance to recognize local vets for their contributions to their country and the community.
Some schools and their students celebrated before the holiday, while others waited until after.
John Dietz, the mayor of Elk River, spoke at Twin Lakes Elementary School about the city of Elk River’s newly created Yellow Ribbon status.
Dietz emphasized to students at Twin Lakes the role that veterans have played in providing many freedoms that people enjoy but often take for granted.
He also explained how the Yellow Ribbon community effort coordinates many types of resources for military members and their families. Members of the Beyond the Yellow Ribbon steering committee, Don Heinzman and Cory Franson, set up an information table at a coffee reception and answered questions from guests.
Lincoln Elementary School kindergartent teacher Carole Boelter shared her recollections of getting to know her father better through letters he sent home while in World War II, and what Veterans Day meant to her having grown up in the home of a World War II veteran.
Todd Vanyo, an East Grand Forks native, served in Iraq as a member of the 1st Brigade, 34th Division of the Minnesota Army National Guard with Meadowvale third-grade teacher Nick Hydukovich. Vanyo described for Meadowvale children what its like to be a soldier and some of the various jobs they do as well as why he joined and why he has stayed with it.
As far as what anybody should do to thank a veteran, he told the students they were doing it with programs like this in the schools.
“I was overwhelmed,” he said. “It’s nice not to be forgotten about and to be recognized for all the things that we have to do at times.”