Scottish Corners Elementary School students wrote letters to veterans Nov. 6, thanking them for their sacrifices.

For fifth-grader Audrey Ehret, the practice gave her an opportunity to show gratitude to her grandpa, John, a U.S. Navy veteran, for his service.

"I think he'll feel happy and grateful," the 10-year-old said, that children "are thinking of his service."

While some students were addressing letters to family members or others they knew, other students were writing to anonymous veterans.

The project, also carried out in other Dublin City Schools buildings, was an initiative of the 3rd & Goal Foundation, a nonprofit organization founded to make a difference in the lives of formerly homeless veterans in need in central Ohio.

Dublin Coffman High School alumnus and former NFL quarterback Brady Quinn founded the organization, which is why 3rd & Goal reached out to the school district, said Megan Whitt, the foundation's executive director.

Whereas the primary purpose of the foundation was to remodel homes to make them accessible for disabled veterans, the organization has since expanded to provide opportunities for veterans to obtain college degrees and initiatives to show gratitude for veterans' service, Whitt said.

Letter-writing, Whitt said, is one of the ways the foundation lets veterans know that they are not forgotten and people care.

The practice also is an easy way for the foundation to partner with individuals and communities such as Dublin City Schools, she said.

Whitt had collected more than 300 letters from Dublin students as of Nov. 6, and she had planned to collect more throughout the entire week of Nov. 11.

She said she anticipated gathering close to 1,000 letters.

Some of the letters were distributed to veterans on Veterans Day; others will receive them as part of additional foundation programming throughout the year, Whitt said.

"We celebrate Veterans Day every single day," she said.

At Scottish Corners, all students in grades K-5 created cards, letters or pictures for veterans, said principal Lauren Windham.

Every year, the school holds a Veterans Day assembly to honor and respect veterans. The students' family members and friends who are veterans are invited to attend, Windham said.

"This year, we wanted to do a little bit more," she said.

Fifth-grader Colin Hayes said he was writing a letter to a cousin named Phil.

His cousin, Colin said, recently retired from the U.S. Marine Corps with several medals.

Colin said although he's never met Phil, he wanted to thank him for his service and to tell him how proud he is to call him his cousin.

Also writing that day was 10-year-old fifth-grader Daniel Kennedy, who addressed his letter to a neighbor, Larry, who lives across the street from his dad's house.

Daniel said he was writing to tell his neighbor, a U.S. Army veteran, that he appreciated what he did to keep the country safe.

In addition to Scottish Corners, participating elementary schools included Thomas, Eli Pinney, Olde Sawmill, Riverside and Wright, said Doug Baker, district spokesman.

While partnering with Quinn is a great opportunity, the letter-writing also helps students learn, said Todd Hoadley, district superintendent.

"This is an educational opportunity to reinforce the freedoms that we all enjoy living in the United States," Hoadley said.

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