Reynoldsburg City Schools tipped their Hats for Heroes and raised more than $2,800 toward an Honor Flight for veterans.
The district held Hats for Heroes Nov. 9 as part of a Veterans Day observance at Waggoner Road Junior High School.
Reynoldsburg Honor Flight director Gloria Campana said Hats for Heroes was a districtwide effort in which Reynoldsburg students and staff members paid $1 or more for the privilege of wearing a hat to school on Nov. 9.
"All 12 schools participated and the kids were terrific," Campana said.
She said Baldwin Road Junior High School raised the most -- $365.93.
The event at Waggoner Road Road Junior High drew veterans from World War II and the Korean conflict, as well as from other conflicts, Campana said.
"More than 100 students gave a huge welcome to the veterans as they arrived," she said. "The veterans walked through rows of cheering students, who were enthusiastically waving flags and holding up 'thank you' signs."
She said the veterans, including a brigadier general who served in World War II and a female World War II veteran, shared stories with students, took photos with them and answered questions.
Marketing teacher Kim Pennycuff said her DECA students at BELL Academy got involved because, "we are committed to being a positive influence and being community-oriented."
"Last spring, I saw a news report where central Ohio citizens were at the airport sending off veterans to Washington, D.C., to see the memorials they had never seen," Pennycuff said. "I come from a family where many have served our country. My grandfather was a prisoner of war in WWI; five of my eight paternal uncles served in Vietnam, where one was killed in action and another suffered with the after effects of Agent Orange.
"My father-in-law served in the Korean War," she said. "Soon after I saw that story, I got an email from Gloria, who was trying to raise funds to send our local veterans on an Honor Flight. She came to my classroom and talked with DECA members about how they could be part of this effort."
Pennycuff said Dawn McCloud, a teacher from Hannah Ashton Middle School, also contacted her about being part of the fundraising for the Honor Flight.
Campana said Reynoldsburg businesses and residents have also been raising money for the flight.
"We have raised almost $35,000 and are on our way to reaching the $50,000 we need for the Honor Flight," she said. "We held a pancake breakfast and the World War II Welcome Home Victory Canteen dinner dance and show to raise funds, but could still use donations from anyone who would like to donate."
Campana said the Honor Flight is scheduled for April 2013.
Any businesses or residents who want to donate may email Campana at firstname.lastname@example.org.
"We support Honor Flight Columbus, because even though we can never repay them, it is a way to say thank you to our beloved veterans for their service and sacrifice, by sending our World War II and Korean vets to visit their memorials in Washington, D.C., at no charge to the veterans," she said. It's the trip of a lifetime taken with their fellow veterans."
She said "a special thank-you" should go out to McCloud and to Waggoner Road Junior High teacher Deb Combs for their efforts for the fundraiser.
Campana said she hopes people will continue to donate and think of the veterans.
"Time is of the essence in raising funds to send our World War II veterans to their memorial as we are losing 1,200 a day," she said.
She said if any World War II veterans want to know more about the Honor Flights or sign up for a flight, they should contact her.
"A lot of veterans still don't know about this wonderful trip that is of no cost to them," she said.
"We have raised almost $35,000 and are on our way to reaching the $50,000 we need for the Honor Flight."
- GLORIA CAMPANA
Reynoldsburg Honor Flight director