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Centertown recognizes heroes
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Marine Corporal Andrew Williams smiled with his family after the Veterans Day program at Centertown. Pictured, front row, from left are Jensi Griffith, Briar Williams, Rush Reynolds, Trinity Reynolds and Brinlee Griffith. Back row, Keira Reynolds, Jagger Reynolds, Jagger Reynolds and Andrew Williams. - photo by Lacy Garrison

Centertown Elementary held a Veterans Day assembly and breakfast Friday to honor those who served and currently serve our country. 

“Freedom is an abstract thought and word,” said Centertown principal Pam Cowan. “Sometimes we don’t really know what it means and we take it for granted. In the words of Ronald Reagan, ‘Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.’”

Students in the Centertown choir sang “America” while veteran couple Tim and Michelle Bodey shared their military experience with the assembly. Tim served as a dentist for 29 years on active duty in the Army and was deployed to Operation Desert Storm before retiring as a colonel. Michelle served as an RN for eight years in the Army Reserves. 

“When you think of veterans, you probably think of an Army soldier with a gun, but that’s not all the military is about,” said Tim. “There are other jobs in the military, such as doctors, dentists and nurses, drivers delivering food and mail, which are all important.”

Michelle emphasized the importance of community, especially for military families, who most always have to relocate.

“We moved 14 times in our career and Tim was deployed several times so we realized how important community is,” said Michelle. “We all need those other people in our lives.”

In attendance were approximately 55 servicemen and women representing the Marine Corps, Air Force, Navy and Army. Each stood as their name, branch and years of service were announced. 

Among those was Marine Corporal Andrew Williams, who served from 2006-2010. He was in Iraq for nine months in the Marine Expeditionary Unit. In 2006, his truck team hit an IED and he spent two weeks in the hospital at Camp Ramadi.

Williams said he enjoys attending the annual Veterans Day program at Centertown and eating breakfast with his family including his daughter, nieces and nephews.

“We’d send him his favorite candy and artwork from school while he was away,” recalled Williams’ niece and eighth-grader Keira Reynolds. “I have learned a lot of good things from him and I strive to be as brave as he is. He’s a goofy person and I like it when he comes to visit us at school.”

Veterans Day is Monday, Nov. 11.