On Wednesday after school, South Orangetown Middle School National Junior Honor Society members gathered in the auditorium to hear from five local veterans as they told their stories of serving our country.
“With a focus on Veteran’s Day, SOMS NJHS have kicked off their annual Packages for the Troops effort honoring military veterans of the United States Armed Forces, young or old, actively serving, disabled or retired. These men and women gave up a great deal to serve our country and our NJHS members want to do something for them,” explained NJHS Advisor and SOMS Technology teacher Kerry Beckmann. Beginning earlier this month, NJHS officers and members have been gathering donations of a variety of items including batteries, puzzle books, card games, candy, hot cocoa packets and personal care items such as hairbrushes. These items will be picked up by the Rockland County Marine Corp League and mailed out to troops stationed overseas as well as disabled veterans in VA hospitals so they receive some treats for the holidays. During his Social Studies classes, SOMS teacher Luke Freeley encouraged his students to be generous and explained what it might mean to the service men and women that would ultimately receive these packages. Beckmann said that his students are responsible for nearly half of the donations that will be picked up next week! Donations are being accepted through November 13 and collection bins are available in the SOMS entry areas.
Raymond W. DeMeola Memorial Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 1615 Chief John Antonucci and VFW members Bob Roth, John Gray, Ed Doolan and Dave Mart spoke to students about their time in the U.S. Navy, Army and Coast Guard and explained the significance of receiving care packages from loved ones. “Letters and packages meant the world to you because that was your connection to home. Your generous efforts truly pay off,” explained Mart.