Midlands students visit veterans at Dorn VA, gain new appreciation for sacrifice

Updated: Mar. 22, 2019 at 7:23 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - A group of Midlands students visited war heroes living at the Dorn VA this week, offering up conversation and care packages to Midlands veterans.

The Boy’s Leadership Academy at the Carolina School For Inquiry, a group of boys in 3rd through 6th grade, made its first-ever trip to the VA in an effort to gain a new appreciation for life after active duty service.

“I felt happy because one of them said they felt lonely most of the time so it made me feel good to make them feel like they have company,” Max Ketcherside, a fifth-grader said.

The group spent several hours going room to room, visiting with veterans varying in age, branch of military and war. Each had their own stories to tell, leaving students hanging on their every word.

“You might get emotional but it’s definitely worth it,” Zayir Ferraro, a sixth-grader said. “Coming here and having the time to speak to veterans.

Staff at the VA led the tour around the facility and hoped the students walked away with a better understanding of what goes on after wartime is over.

“Our youth becomes middle and then becomes old,” Raymond Benson, with the Dorn VA Nursing Recreation Department said. “The compassion of it is learning those three stages so as they grow and learn and become old, they keep the same compassions they have for the people that are here now.”

For many of the veterans, the visit marked the highlight of their day.

“The veterans were very nice and very receptive to the care packages we gave out all the veterans...that made them feel really well that they’re helping in some type of way,” Anthony Bryant, a guidance counselor with the school said.

The Carolina School for Inquiry hope to make the field trip an annual occurrence after students said they enjoyed the experience and inspired them to consider a career in the military.

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