You are reading a publication honoring veterans in North Central Washington that is the result of a unique partnership between this newspaper, the United Way of Chelan and Douglas counties, Okanogan High School and local veterans groups. (Click here to go to the section.)
We wanted to engage students in doing the important work of interviewing veterans and helping tell their stories to the community. We approached the students of Youth United, a United Way program that gives high school students the ability to earn a varsity letter in volunteering. They readily agreed to the project. The project received substantial support from local veterans organizations.
Dennis O’Connor, an English and French teacher at Okanogan High School, worked with a couple of his students to profile veterans in that area. Leita Crossfield coordinated the project.
There’s something very important about connecting young people with those who have served this country both in times of war and peace. Not all veterans serve in combat but the service they provide to our country is no less important. In talking with folks involved in the veterans organizations, we learned that sometimes people who haven’t seen combat feel that their efforts were somehow less important. We wanted to be inclusive with this publication.
Bob Ashford, a local veteran working with Vets Serving Vets, was a tremendous help in identifying local veterans who were willing to talk about their stories. We are also grateful to Thad Duvall of Operation Stand Down for providing us with contacts. We’re grateful to Alan Walker and Trina Heuchert of United Way for their efforts on behalf of this project.
Everything we have learned about education these days is how important it is to connect students with real-life projects. Rather than writing essays for class, we thought it would be an opportunity to engage them in real life than to have them talk to veterans and then take the responsibility for telling their stories to the community through this publication.
The origin of this idea goes back to a project called “Honor by Listening,” championed by former North Central Educational Service District Superintendent Gene Sharratt. The project was an off-shoot of the work done by Tom Brokaw for his book, The Greatest Generation.
As part of this project, The World is making a financial contribution to both the United Way and to Vets Serving Vets.
We hope you enjoy reading the stories of veterans who are living in North Central Washington, written by students who now have a greater understanding of sacrifices that were made on their behalf.
We hope to continue this effort to tell the stories of local veterans with the help of students in coming years.