Veterans get a thank you - times 150 - from West Utica students
Veterans get a thank you - times 150 - from West Utica students
Posted on 11/29/2018
Ashely with veteran dressed in revolutionay war uniformWest Utica Elementary students want to make sure veterans across the country know that their service is appreciated.

West Utica students recently followed up their annual Veterans Day celebration with more than 150 thank you cards that were sent to active service men and women in VA hospitals.

Behind the effort was Ashley Mathews, the school’s Student Council President.

“I think they do a lot for our country, and I don’t think they are honored enough,” Mathews said. “I thought if we give them more and more notes and give them more and more recognition, then they will feel proud of themselves and know that they made an impact on our country.”

For the past 30 years, West Utica has celebrated community veterans through a school-wide celebration that features songs, speeches and a gift for each veteran in attendance.

Students also create special thank you notes that hang in the school hallway. Typically, the notes are given back to the students after they are displayed; this year, Mathews thought they should do something different.

“We have all of these notes, and I thought we can just send them to the veterans because they deserve to be recognized,” she said.

The notes were sent Veterans Administration Medical Center, where Mathews imagines “I’m sure they were very happy to be recognized.”

Community service is important to Mathews, who also serves as president of the school’s Junior Optimist Club. Last year, she was named 2018 Junior Optimist of the Year for her outreach and charitable community acts.

“If you are helping others, people will notice you are making an impact,” she said. “They will hear your voice and they will want to also have a voice. We are making things better.”

While Mathews volunteers and performs service that benefit different groups of people, the Veterans Day celebration holds a special place in her heart. She feels that the annual celebration should have the same attention as other holidays.

“If it wasn’t for the veterans, we wouldn’t even have these other holidays,” she said.