Veterans Day program shines appreciation on those who served
The Switzerland County FFA chapter and the Switzerland County High School Student Council hosted their annual Veterans Day program on Friday, November 11th, in the high school gym.
A large crowd of veterans and their family members were in attendance and honored during the program.
Switzerland County FFA members Trevor Reed and Ky Baker presented the flags at the beginning of the program, which included a ‘Grand Walk’ of veterans, escorted by school students and family members. The Switzerland County Band and Choir performed The National Anthem.
Dakota Richard and Kyra Clift served as the masters of ceremony for the program.
FFA President :Levi Curlin introduced veterans in attendance as well as current service men and women; and that was followed by a performance from the band and choir.
Veteran Michelle Oatman, representing the American Legion, was the keynote speaker for the program, and spoke on “What is Life as a Veteran?” Oatman entered the U.S. Air Force in 1995 and served in various positions and posts until leaving the military in 2008.
Her remarks were followed by the band and choir performing a special song, “Homeward Bound” as a tribute to the veterans.
Students Levi Curlin, Ky Baker, Macy Collier, Emily Miller and Trevor Reed each spoke briefly about what the theme of the 2022 program, “Impact” meant to them in terms of appreciating the military service of others.
Next to the podium was Switzerland County Middle School principal Mark Boggs. Traditionally the middle school honors a veteran each year as part of the program with a special award of honor.
This year’s recipient was Jack Ranz, and he was presented with his award by his granddaughter and 8th grade student Emma South.
Emma spoke of her grandfather: “Our awardee served our country from 1971 to 1974 in Vietnam and earned the Air Medal Strike Flight Award; Meritorious Unit Commendation; the National Defense Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal, the Vietnam Medal with Device, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal — Korea combat action ribbon; and his Air Force Wings….
“Locally he has served our school corporation on the school board of trustees and as President; volunteered at many events sponsored by the school; and has been active in the Switzerland County Lions Club as well as being a founding member of the YMCA board of directors,” Emma continued. “It is an honor to present this year’s award of Impact to veteran of the U.S. Navy, my papaw, Mr. Jack Ranz.”
Following that presentation, 8th grader Ellie Keith read the poem, “The Best on Earth” A Veterans Day Tribute” — and then Macy Collier made the announcement that Switzerland County High School had been designated as a ‘Purple Star School’ in recognition of the school’s work to honor veterans and their families.
Switzerland County High School Principal Jason Cheek then came to the podium and thanked the students who had been involved in the program; and then noted that flags had been placed in honor of those members of the military who had lost their lives in defense of freedom. ‘Taps’ was played; and the veterans were dismissed; followed by others in attendance.