Students Honoring Veterans

Musical Veterans Tribute Set
By: Todd Martin
A tribute concert, letters to deployed soldiers, hallway parades and quilts for military retirees are part of the celebration of service happening across the Killeen Independent School District this week leading to Veterans Day.
At Patterson Middle School, campus technology support specialist Alan Waters, retired from the Army, said he decided this year instead of the usual door decorating contest, to do something for soldiers overseas.
His daughter, a major in the Army, is a brigade surgeon with the 1st Cavalry Division, currently in Poland. So, Waters arranged for Patterson students to spend an advisory period this week writing letters to soldiers scattered through Europe this holiday season.
“It’s not easy being away during the holidays,” Waters said, speaking from experience. “This is just a touch of home.”
Eighth-graders Braylon Browner and Ilia Rodriguez Montalvo are two of the many who have military ties. Both his parents are retired from the Army. Her dad is active duty.
“When soldiers are away from their family, I think they like to hear from us, especially with Thanksgiving and Christmas coming,” said Browner. “I hope they know they are appreciated and that we are for them.”
“They go through a lot,” said Rodriguez Montalvo. “It’s important to acknowledge them. Maybe they will smile a little and won’t feel so alone.”
“A Salute to Veterans,” a KISD musical tribute honoring veterans, starts at 6 p.m. Thursday at Ellison High School. Wind ensembles from Shoemaker, Killeen and Ellison high schools will join the Heights Concert Band.
They will end in combined finale with “Stars and Stripes Forever” and “God Bless America.”
“I can’t think of a better way for kids and adults to share their musical talents for such a significant cause,” said Randy Kelley following last year’s performance. He is assistant director of fine arts in KISD and Heights Concert Band director.
Several schools are planning hallways parades, some including soldiers from their Fort Hood adopt-a-school units.
The Shoemaker High School JROTC is conducting a service project to show honor to veterans.
To start the week, they presented Quilts of Valor to retired military service members currently working or volunteering at the Central Texas Veterans Health Care System in Temple. To end the week, they will conduct assemblies to inform students about veterans and Veterans Day.