Breakfast dedicated to those who serve

Published 11:08 am Wednesday, November 12, 2008

PROCTORVILLE — It was an invitation from his grandson, Aaron Ward, that got Frank Dorsey to drive over from Huntington, in his best blue suit and Marine garrison hat.

That and the memories of 30 months spent in the jungles of the South Pacific during World War II. Dorsey was among about 100 vets and their families at the annual Veterans Day breakfast put on by the students and staff of Fairland Middle School.

“This is beautiful,” Dorsey said. “It is an honor to be asked. Not everyone remembers the vet.”

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But that wasn’t the case Tuesday as Fairland cooks served up scrambled eggs, hash browns, biscuits and gravy for more than an hour.

“People need to honor those who served our country and brought us our freedom,” Patrick McCoy said as he guided visitors to the dining room. The Fairland eighth grader was among those playing greeters or servers for the event.

Inside the cafeteria fellow student Ariel Turner was helping out by filling coffee cups or getting seconds for the guests.

“I think it is great to honor them so they can come and relax and have breakfast,” she said.

Before the buffet began, four students — Mary Van Nostrand, Matt McComas, Ellen Hinshaw and Julie Wu — read their essays that took honors in the VFW Patriot Pen contest, followed by Chloe Stanley who recited an original poem she had written as a tribute for the veterans.

The idea of the school breakfast began in 1993 when then assistant principal Ireland Wiley teamed up with Danny Casey, John Lewis and Tonya Spurlock, to come up with a school-based event to honor those who had served in the military. When Mike Whitley took over as principal, he decided to continue the tradition.

“The first year it was a small turnout. Nothing like this,” Wiley said. “It has grown continually. We have had a real good turnout this morning. Here are the kids serving. It has been positive for everyone around.”

Throughout the 90 minute breakfast, the Fairland choir sang patriotic songs including the Star Spangled Banner, the Irving Berlin standard, God Bless America, and a spiritual, at times getting the audience to join in.

“This is really great,” Whitley said. “To have the kids involved and get their perspective on what these veterans have done.”