Doing odd jobs for families, neighbors and friends, Middle School students at Springer School and Center raised enough money to send four U.S. veterans to Washington D.C. through Honor Flight Tri-State. The fundraising project was part of preparations students are making for a trip to our nation’s capital in April, which included researching the memorials and monuments that will be visited on the four-day trip.
During a November 9 assembly at the school, students presented Honor Flight Tri-State representatives Tim Cassady and John Mock with a check for $2,067. Four veterans attended the program, as well as several members of the local Honor Flight organization. The veterans, Aviation Machinist Mate 3rd Class, U.S. Navy, Kim Brockhoff, and Private First Class Suzanne Naro, Sergeant Douglas Gresham, and Corporal Luke Lawson of the Ohio Military Reserve, shared with students their experiences in the military and answered questions.
Using photos from past Honor Flights, Cassady and Mock described to the students a typical flight – the memorials visited and the honor and appreciation bestowed on the veterans. Headquartered in Cincinnati, Honor Flight Tri-State has made five flights to Washington in 2017, and one “Flightless Honor Flight,” in which vets who are unable to travel are honored locally. Honor Flight Tri-State offers flights to veterans of World War II, Korea and Vietnam who are at least 65 years old. A typical flight honors 72 veterans, each traveling with a personal Guardian.
Eighth-grader Conner Dute’ was part of a color guard that included a student Girl Scout, four Boy Scouts and an Army Veteran teacher that presented the American flag to begin the program. “It was important to me to put on my uniform and give these veterans full respect,” said Dute’, who is a Cadet Senior Airman with the Civil Air Patrol, Lunken Cadet Squadron 078. “They have served their country, and they may have friends who have made the ultimate sacrifice.”
In April, Springer 7th and 8th graders will tour Washington through the Oliver Gale Washington Academy, founded in 2008 by William and Margaret Gale to honor his father. Every other year, the Academy sends around 60 Springer students to Washington, recognizing both Oliver Gale’s support of Springer and his service to our government there during the Eisenhower Administration.
Honor Flight Tri-State member Tim Cassady and his wife Kathy have a special connection with Springer. “I’m pleased to be back at Springer, where my late sister Barbara Cassady Frey established Springer’s library in the mid 1980s,” said Tim Cassady, “and I’m proud of the United States of America and of our Honor Flight program.” The Cassadys’ son and two nephews are Springer alumni, and Springer’s original library was renovated in 1997 in memory of Barbara Cassady Frey.