Italy ISD honors local veterans

Image: Navy Veteran and Italy High School Principal Lee Joffre is the guest speaker.

Navy Veteran and Italy High School Principal Lee Joffre is the guest speaker. (Jeremiah Glover)

On Veterans Day, the administrators, staff and students of Italy ISD showed their appreciation to local veterans by hosting a program to honor them.

Trinity Mission Health and Rehab thanked the veterans for their service and sacrifice by hosting a breakfast in the high school library for the veterans and their guests. The menu consisted of scrambled eggs, sausage patties, homemade biscuits, cream gravy and coffee.

As Kelsey Nelson welcomed everyone, the FFA presented the colors. Jaclynn Lewis and Bailey Eubank, FFA officers, led the pledge of allegiance to the American flag and Texas respectfully. Kyle Tindol, an Italy High School student, sang the National Anthem.

Superintendent Jamie Velasco welcomed everyone and thanked the veterans for their service to our country. Pamela Thomas, Stafford Principal and Air Force veteran, introduced her fellow veterans.

Lee Joffre, Italy High School Principal, and U.S. Navy veteran, was introduced as the guest speaker by his wife, Cassie Joffre.

“Over the last few years I have been asked several times to speak during our Veterans Day recognition. I always turned the offer down because when I was discharged I was an E-3. I felt there are ranks that are much higher and more interesting.

I also feel it is my responsibility as the principal to lead the students and the community in recognizing our local veterans. The truth is … my status as a veteran outranks my status as a principal… and it is a privilege and joy to represent veterans of all ranks from each branch of the military.

Many of us here are closely related to or have friends who are veterans. Conversations with a serviceman or woman can sometimes be awkward. I hope to be able to show you ways to be respectful without making a veteran uncomfortable.

Don’t tell a serviceman you can’t understand why anyone would join the military.
Don’t ask a serviceman how they could leave their children.
Don’t tell servicemen your political beliefs about the war they served in.
Don’t ask servicemen if they have killed anyone.

There are several ways to show respect to a veteran.

You can buy them lunch unexpectedly and unannounced.
You can meet them at the airports when they come home.
You can donate time or money to organizations such as The Wounded Warrior Project.
You can be respectful during the National Anthem.
You can teach your children different ways to be respectful.

I hope that each of the veterans here today feel the respect and admiration they deserve.”

As the Italy High School Regiment Band played the theme songs from each branch of the military, the veterans from each branch stood to be recognized.

The different classes at Stafford Elementary and the Stafford Student Council members showed their appreciation to the veterans with songs, posters, letters and poems.

The recognition service ended with a moment of silence and Taps being played.