Veterans' Celebration

GST BOCES Phoenix Academy on Bush Campus hosted their annual Veterans' Celebration on Thursday. A special message is written below by Cathy Pelchar. Click here to view photos from the Veterans' Celebration.

My husband, Wayne, and I started this celebration, I think 9 years ago. I was a social worker working with the oldest students in Broad Horizons (now Phoenix Academy). I would talk about the importance of standing for the Pledge. Many didn't understand. My husband, a Coast Guard Veteran, urged me to organize an event that would help.

So, our annual Veteran's celebration began.  The first few years it was an inside event.  2020 and covid changed that.  It turned my world upside down as well, as I lost my husband to covid.  My co-workers were in no way going to let our celebration go away too.  So, 2021 we decided to start an outside celebration with a parade.   Each year it has gotten larger and more exciting.  We have a small committee that are awesome, hard-working, dedicated people.  We start our planning in September. The food is prepared by two of our teachers and a bunch of our wonderful students. Everyone has a chore and it all comes together.  

This year we believe we served 80 veterans their lunch and the pleasure of seeing the smiles on every student's face. By having the parade, we now include our entire campus. Every year the Odessa American Legion comes with their Honor Guard and stand in form for their fellow Veterans. The local news media covers our event. Our music teacher supplied us with heart warming songs that many Veterans acknowledged. Our art teacher, as well as, many classroom teachers, had the students make various cards thanking the Veterans for their service. 

I, personally,  cannot thank my co workers enough for helping me continue with this event that means so much to me in honoring my husband's memory. We have many veterans that have been attending since the first year. At a time in our world that things are so chaotic,  this day allows us to take a step back and see how much compassion and caring we all have for one another.