By Jillian Brigance, FCCLA and Junior Class president
and Karen Campbell, WCS Communications Director
MARTIN (November 9) – Veterans from the Air Force, Army, Army and Tennessee National Guard, Navy, and Navy Reserve joined Westview students around breakfast tables and then for a music-filled, student-led observance of Veterans Day on Tuesday, ahead of the holiday.
Principal Jeromy Davidson said the early event was to ensure veterans who usually have a full day of recognition from schools throughout the county on November 11 could interact with students and enjoy the tributes planned by the student council, FCCLA and the Westview Band. Council Advisor Jennifer Wenz and Club Advisor Lauren Freeman worked with Band Director Mike Tucker and the groups to coordinate the meal and program.
Fifteen veterans – including six from Weakley County Schools faculty and staff – accepted the invitation. Upon arrival at the school, students welcomed the guests with cards and ornaments etched by student artists. Following breakfast, the veterans were met with applause as they entered the gymnasium. Music from the Westview band included patriotic tunes as well as a medley of theme songs from each branch of the military.
Gwen Jones Coleman, who followed in her father’s footsteps and served in the U.S. Air Force from 1977-81, was the featured speaker. She shared anecdotes from her time in the military police, with the canine unit, and as part of a family that boasts several other Air Force veterans including her husband. The retired schoolteacher and now substitute nurse for Weakley County Schools expressed gratitude for the day of recognition and to her fellow veterans.
Other Weakley County faculty and staff with military backgrounds who were present for the ceremony were SRO Jason Arant, Air Force; Ed Baker, Air Force; Beth Kempton, Army and Navy Reserve; Mike Shannon, Navy and National Guard; and David Hochreiter, Army.
Additional veterans in attendance were Mike Maloan, TN Army National Guard; Lynn Kelly, U.S. Army; Noel Arant, Army an TN National Guard, Chris Mathis, Army National Guard; Mike Davis, Navy; Bryan Caldwell, Army National Guard; Lexie Dean, Army; Sam Veer, Army; Charles Hutson, Army National Guard.