Pella Chronicle

Local News

November 13, 2012

Students thank Vets for their service, sacrifice

Pella — Hearthstone, a Ministry of WesleyLife, honored 24 residents and two team members who are veterans for their military service at a celebration with students on Friday, Nov. 9, in the dining room of Fair Haven East, 607 East Third St., Pella.

“Our Veterans Day celebration is one way Hearthstone honors our residents and team members who selflessly dedicated a part of their life to our country,” says Nancy Hamilton, Hearthstone Executive Director. “Partnering with local schools and creating multi-generational relationships and learning is an enriching experience for our residents, students and the Greater Pella community.”

The interactive celebration began with students from Deb Fessler’s first-grade class at Madison Elementary School singing songs, reciting poetry and presenting a thank-you card to each veteran.

In addition, 36 seventh graders in a literature class taught by Amanda Herder and Valerie Keegan at Pella Christian School participated in an essay contest sponsored by Hearthstone in observance of Veterans Day.

Each student wrote about what freedom means to him or her. The entries were divided among three veterans: Marion Klyn, Mel Vos and Bill Schimmel. Each veteran selected his favorite essay. The three winning authors, who will each receive a U.S. savings bond, are:

-Alexis De Vries, daughter of Tom and Jill De Vries

-Mark Vande Haar, son of Evan and Christy Vande Haar

-Jakob Van Vark, son of Curtis and Donna Van Vark

Dot Beason, Hearthstone Director of Home Services, read Vande Haar’s essay, titled “Freedom’s Price,” at the celebration.

His essay states that “The price of freedom is very big. We lose people every day due to war. But because of those people we have the freedom to do the things we want. We can choose what we want to do when we get older. We are free to worship freely. Some countries don’t have the freedom that we have. The freedom we have is very important and I am very grateful that we get to have freedom.”

Following the program, the first graders joined the veterans and other Hearthstone residents for cookies while a community volunteer played patriotic songs on the piano.

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