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The Van Wert County Courthouse

Saturday, Nov. 18, 2017

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

Local military veteran Louis Crowe receives a certificate from Lincolnview teacher Rachel Rohrs honoring him for his service. photos by Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent

Lincolnview Local School District held its seventh annual Veterans Day program, honoring nearly 90 military veterans who attended this year’s event, as well as veterans who couldn’t attend and those who have passed away.

To Lincolnview teacher Stephanie Renner, the annual program is a labor of love to honor her grandfathers: Vernon Kill, who earned two Purple Hearts while serving in the U.S. Army during World War II, and Richard Gehres, also a World War II veteran who served in the U.S. Navy.

“I never got to meet my grandpa Kill, he died before I was born,” Renner said, “but my grandpa Gehres was my inspiration.”

The Lincolnview teacher said she wanted to start a veterans’ program the year her grandpa Gehres passed away, on Memorial Day, but didn’t get things organized until Veterans Day.

The Lincolnview Veterans Day program has grown over the years, and also involves students in the district, who escort relatives — fathers, mothers, uncles, aunts, grandparents, siblings — as they receive certificates of appreciation for their service.

“We should all feel a sense of gratitude because someone we may have not met decided to become part of our nation’s military,” Renner told those who attended the program. “They often go without luxuries that we take for granted every day. They leave their families, jobs, friends, and life behind to fight for our freedom.”

Lincolnview student Sam Myers gives a presentation on the Flag Code during the school’s Veterans Day program.

This year’s program included the presentation of the colors by units from American Legion Post 178, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5803, and Disabled American Veterans Chapter 54, all in Van Wert, followed by the singing of “The Star-Spangled Banner” by Lincolnview third- and fourth-grade students.

Lincolnview teacher Stephanie Renner gets emotional after Van Wert County Veterans Service Office Barry Johns presents her with a plaque honoring her efforts in putting on the Veterans Day program.

Lincolnview student Sam Myers also did a presentation on the Flag Code, while sixth-grade teacher Chad Kraner, who is also an advisor to the sixth-grade trip to Washington, D.C., talked about seeing the various military memorials while in Washington. He also commented on the personal impact of a note he found at the Vietnam Memorial that was written by veteran Larry Moore to one of his buddies who died in the war.

The note made such an emotional impact on Kraner that he contacted Moore personally after he returned home from Washington. Kraner also shared a video of Moore talking about how the Vietnam War affected him, and the friends he lost in the war.

Renner said she feels involving the students is a learning experience for them.

“My hope is that it would teach students to have pride in the country, but also to appreciate our veterans,” she explained. “I don’t know that a lot of them understand just how important our veterans are to our country.”

It was obvious the veterans who attended understood how important Renner and her program was to them. She received a standing ovation from veterans and their families when Van Wert County Veterans Service Officer Barry Johns presented her with a plaque honoring her for her work in founding and coordinating the program each year. Johns also presented a plaque to the school district for the staff’s work in putting on the program.

It was an emotional moment for Renner, who didn’t know she was going to be honored.

The program ended with the playing of “Taps” and a video presentation honoring veterans, along with a salute to veterans from each Lincolnview class. Veterans and their families were then invited to stay for refreshments after the program.

POSTED: 11/11/17 at 9:49 am. FILED UNDER: News