Americans honor those who have answered the call to serve their country. This year, Woodmore high school
honored local veterans with an assembly held on Veterans Day.
The assembly featured patriotic music from the jazz band and symphonic chorale. The main speaker was retired Colonel Bob Hubbell, faculty member Britton Devier’s grandfather. The assembly was organized by Kristina Curtis and her AP History class. Curtis said she was pleased by how well the assembly went.
“It’s nice to get other students involved. The jazz band hasn’t performed at a Veterans Day assembly since 2007, so it was nice to have them perform,” said Curtis. “I was surprised by the number of veterans that showed up, we haven’t had that many before.”
Each student in Curtis’s AP History class gave a speech at the assembly. Senior Olivia Czeczele’s speech was the welcoming speech and a brief history of Veterans Day.
“I wanted to be able to speak about what veterans have done to help us earn our freedom,” said Czeczele.
She also said that the students need to know what veterans did to earn that freedom, and many don’t take the time to think about this. One veteran in attendance at the assembly was Kenny Heins. Heins served stateside during the Korean War in the Air Force as ground crew and maintenance. He said that the students need to know how and why the veterans served their country.
“It’s good for the kids to respect the flag and what it stands for because it helps them be more patriotic,” said Heins.
Korean War vet speaks
Robert Hubbell joined the National Guard in the summer of 1947. He served for 38 years and was in the Korean War.
The Korean War was from 1950-53. Hubbell was called to active duty in 1951 and returned to the states in 1952.
He is from Ada, Ohio and joined the National Guard with five of his friends right after high school. They drilled at the local National Guard unit in Ada every Monday night and for two weeks in the summer.
Hubbell retired from the military as a colonel after 38 years of service and continues to stay active in military organizations, such as the Korean War Veterans Association and the local American Legion post and has served as commander of his post for about nine years.
Hubbell also worked for the Sprint telephone company for 46 years and has performed public service for over 26 years. He married his high school sweetheart, Wilma, in 1950 and together they had three children: Michael, Patricia and Allan.
Patricia is the mother of Woodmore High School teacher Britton Devier, who invited his grandpa to the Veterans Day assembly.
“He is always doing his part to help out,” said Devier.
Student remembers great-grandfather
Woodmore junior Ty Burner’s great-grandfather, Andrew Helmeci, was a veteran of WWII. He made it through one of the biggest battles in U.S. History, the Invasion of Normandy on D-Day.
“He told many people, ‘My goal was surviving it and getting home,’ Burner, a staff writer on the school newspaper Window to Woodmore, wrote.
Helmici spent two years in the Army from 1943-45. He had no choice, as he was drafted right out of high school at 18. He was first sent to France, then to Germany in 1945.
One night in France, he and his buddies got lost and ended up behind enemy lines. Although he wasn’t captured as a POW, he always said that was one of the scariest times he remembered.
Burner’s great-grandfather not only fought in many battles, he also liberated many Nazi concentration camps. He received a Medal of Honor from the General Console of France for combat engagement and another medal for his part in the liberation of Normandy.
“He was a very brave man. He never complained once that he had no choice about fighting in WWII,” Burner wrote. “He went and fought for not only his freedom but our freedom. Its dedication like his that makes our country great to this day. He is one of many people who never backed down from a challenge to get the job done. I encourage everyone to give the men and women that have served, and who are serving right now, thanks on Veterans Day because they deserve it.”
Woodmore students join military
Many Woodmore alumni will be joined in the U.S. Military by several students of the class of 2012. These former students include William Heinemann, Jose Requena, De Vaughnte Askew and numerous others who have chosen this path.
“My brother, William Heinemann, is a staff sergeant in the Air Force and is stationed in Shreveport, Louisiana,” said Woodmore senior Chelsea Heinemann.
Senior Cameron Kutchenriter, who is currently attending Penta Vocational School, chose to become a combat medic in the Army. He prepares by training in classes every Thursday and working out regularly to stay in shape.
“I chose the military because I wanted to be a part of something bigger than myself. I wanted to make a difference and serve my country,” said Kutchenriter.
Kutchenriter ships out on July 1.
At a young age, senior John Makulinski knew he wanted to be in the Army.
“I wanted to be different from everyone else,” said Makulinski.
In order to join the Army, Makulinski met up with a recruiter, who he sees every Thursday for physical training and lessons. From there, Makulinski went to Cleveland for his written test and physical. He then signed the contract to be part of the U.S. Army. Makulinski made the decision because by joining, he will receive free healthcare, education and housing, as well as retirement after 20 years.
Shane Shaffer, a senior who is also attending Penta, decided to join the medical field in the Army. His father encouraged him to join the Army.
“I’m excited about joining the Army because I will get to see the world,” said Shaffer.
Shaffer has been planning for the past year to join the Army.
One female student, Brittney Wolford, has decided to join the military. She plans on attending the U.S. Air Force Academy.
“I’ve always been interested in flying,” said Wolford.
She hopes to fly jet fighter planes one day. Wolford is waiting on a recommendation and acceptance into the Air Force Academy. Wolford tries her best to stay in shape so she can score well on her physical tests.
There are others who shared insight on family members who are in the military or veterans. Junior Donny Bowen said his uncle, Ray Wilcox, is an Army recruiter. Teacher Tom Adams said his son, David Adams, is in the Army and is stationed in Bahrain, which is in the Persian Gulf. Sophomore Kelly Less said her brother, David Marlowe, is in the Army and is stationed in Fort Drum, Texas. Freshman Matt Requena said his uncle, Jose Requena, is retired from the Air Force.
Poppies remain an emblem
During the Veterans Day assembly, retired Colonel Bob Hubbell talked to students about personal experiences and how important it is to honor the veterans. He also spoke about the poppy flower, a topic not many students and staff knew about.
Senior Courtney Gavorski, one of Kristina Curtis’s AP History students, also spoke to the Woodmore audience about poppy pins.
“I really wanted the audience to know more about why we see veterans wearing those red or orange pins,” said Curtis.
When World War I officially ended, there were poppies that had bloomed across some of the worst battlefields. Troops decided that their red color was an appropriate symbol for the bloodshed. Veterans from all wars keep the honor of the poppy pins going. Veterans Day has also become known as “Poppy Day” for many veterans.
Veterans wear an artificial poppy pin to resemble the hard times that they went through and also as a symbol of honor for those who survived and those who died for their country.
For more information on poppy pins, go to http://pins.com/en/articles/remembrance-day-andthe-poppy-lapel-pin-2.html.
(The Woodmore school newspaper, Window to Woodmore put together a two-page spread on veterans for its December issue. These articles by senior John Makulinski, junior Dylan Young, junior Ty Burner, senior Cassondra Requena, senior Charlotta Mäkinen, and senior Brianna Swartz reprinted with permission).