Kids, vets meet at Perry


First Posted: 11/10/2014

PERRY TOWNSHIP — Veterans enjoyed time with inquisitive students at Perry Local Schools on Monday.

Inviting the veterans to Perry allows the students to show their appreciation for the veterans and gives students the opportunity to learn about a potential career choice from the point of view of someone who chose that career, said Hannah Blankenship, a junior and a member of National Honors Society.

The event included three veterans and a veterans trivia table, where students could answer questions to win candy. The Perry High School NHS organized the event, which has been held before, Blankenship said. All Perry students came to the event during their study hall period, she said.

Students were fascinated by stories of the Army, especially because the stories came from a veteran, said John Gwinne, a 2003 graduate of PHS and a captain in the Army. He said it is important for students to talk to veterans so they learn how America transitioned from one war to another, the different tools and issues of each war, and the reasons for going to war. Gwinne did two tours in Iraq.

“I feel like I should give back to the place that built me into the person I am today,” Gwinne said.

He was happy to come back to the school that shaped who he became.

Fourth-grader Chloe Hauenstein enjoys hearing how the veterans help people. She finds stories about different things the veterans have done the most interesting.

This not only gives veterans the opportunity to talk to students about their lives, but also about life in general.

“It’s not only to talk about the military, it’s to talk about their life, how they, what they should do, not let nobody put them down,” Elmer Wicker, an Army veteran stationed in Germany in 1958 and 1959.

He said education is critical for young people now. Wicker’s granddaughter is a student at Perry.

Another Army veteran hoped to put the idea of going into the military into the minds of the students at Perry, as he has heard fewer people are signing up.

The students ask a lot of questions, said Chad Hittle, who has two daughters at Perry.