It was one of many similar conversations the morning of Saturday, Nov. 9, as two classes of Kimball High sophomores hosted a thank-you breakfast for local veterans.
“I think it is wonderful,” Kaelin said as he waited for the breakfast to be served. “It gives the students a sense of history and pride.”
Kaelin was one of 120 veterans and their families at the free breakfast served by students in Jared Rio’s and Jennifer Sprecksel’s U.S. History and English classes.
“We knew we wanted to do a project with Veterans Day, especially in this community,” Rio said.
The school reached out to local organizations, including the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars and the senior center, to find Tracy-area veterans.
“It’s overwhelming hosting a big event, listening to the stories,” Rio said. “It lets people know it is real men and women making the sacrifices, and this is the least we can do.”
It was the second year Kimball students treated veterans to a free breakfast of scrambled eggs, sausages, potatoes, pastries, fruit and juice or coffee.
Alyssa was proud to meet the men and women who served.
“If they are serving us, we should take a day and give back to them,” Alyssa said. “They risked their lives for us. We need to find a way and give back.”
The sophomore’s grandfather, Robert Anderson, a Marine who served in the Korean War, was among the veterans who attended the breakfast.
U.S. Army Reserve Master Sgt. Sandra Goodman sat with her with her daughters Destinee and Jazzmin and expressed gratitude for the students’ efforts.
“I think this is really an honor,” the master sergeant said. “It reflects on helping our veterans — helping them socialize.
It really is a good program. A lot more veterans come out and get involved.”
Destinee Goodman, a West High student, was also appreciative of the breakfast.
“It was nice of Kimball to do this for all the veterans,” she said. “There isn’t a lot of activities here for veterans. They need to be appreciated.”
Tom Loomis, who retired from the U.S. Army in 2012 after three decades, thanked the students as he made his way through the breakfast line. He thought it was a valuable chance for the students and veterans to interact.
“This is great. Having them exposed to the breadth of veterans is tremendous,” Loomis said. “It gives them more time with veterans from World War II to current. They see the veterans are real people in the community.”
Students made a display of photographs and military memorabilia and a video that they showed before the breakfast and spent time asking their guests questions about what their service was like.
“Memories are so important,” Loomis added. “It helps the veterans show how they lived and what they did is important. Some people may not know that.”
• Contact Glenn Moore at 830-4252 or firstname.lastname@example.org.