• Bob Vlach, Woodford Sun Staff

Event gives students an appreciation for service, and sacrifice

Northside Elementary School students had a lot of fun climbing into a Kentucky Army National Guard Humvee and wearing military gear last Friday. The students also learned about service and sacrifice. "Mainly, I hope they gain a greater appreciation for our military and the sacrifices they make for us, for the children," said guidance counselor Mindy Woodall. She said it's also important to recognize those students who have parents in the military. The National Guard's April 21 visit to Northside Elementary came on "Purple Up Day," which happens during Month of the Military Child. "That's why we have on our purple, which is just a visible way to show our appreciation for the sacrifices these (military) families have made," said Woodall. She worked with Angela Hawkins, a volunteer with Lady Veterans Connect, to organize a "Socks for Soldiers" drive in Woodford County schools to commemorate Month of the Military Child. Elementary students and their families were asked to donate new socks, which Hawkins said will be given to homeless military veterans and active duty soldiers. Lady Veterans Connect, which helps female veterans and their families with financial assistance to prevent homelessness, works with Military Missions and the Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs to distribute the socks that were donated by Woodford County students and their families. "This will be a lasting impression on the kids forever," said Hawkins, "to understand something that many adults don't even understand about our military as far as the importance of what they're doing." Her father served two tours of duty in the Vietnam War and her son served two tours in Iraq, so Hawkins knows firsthand about the sacrifices made by veterans and their families. Sgt. Whitney Click, a full-time soldier in the Army National Guard, regularly comes to schools so she can give students - even those who don't have a loved one in the military - an understanding of what she and other women are doing in terms of serving their country. "That's a big reason why I volunteer to do this," said Sgt. Click, "so the younger girls do get to see a female also in uniform." She plans on staying in uniform until retirement because "it's been good to me." Woodall described Sgt. Click being at last week's celebration of "Purple Up Day" at Northside Elementary as a bonus for students. "It's just good for girls to see women in what typically in years past would have been a man's role," she said.

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