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DeSoto honors veterans with "Bring a Vet to School" Day

By Lynn Hatter

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wfsu/local-wfsu-993239.mp3

Tallahassee, FL – Friday is officially Veteran's Day but Leon County Schools have been honoring military service men and women all week. Wednesday, that celebration continued at DeSoto Trail Elementary School, where as Lynn Hatter reports, it was "Bring a Vet to School Day."

"This is Pia Woodley, she's served in the U.S. Navy for 20 years and served in Operation Iraqi Freedom It's a lot for a mom, I'm sure, to go over there and leave your children, so thank you for all you've done."

In DeSoto Trail's media center, men and women, young and not-so-young wait to be officially recognized for their military service. Among them is Navy Lieutenant Commander Pia Woodley, whose son, Xavier, is a student at the school.

"It's a very special occasion to be here with my son. When I had to deploy, he was about six years old and he didn't understand why mom was going away. It was very difficult for me to leave him, and I wasn't sure if I was going to come back alive, but through God, prayer and family support and I'm very proud of my country, I love this country and the freedoms we have."

DeSoto Trail's Principal Michelle Keltner says it's the first time the school has held "Bring a Vet to School Day," but it won't be the last.

"I think we're starting a tradition here at DeSoto Trail. I'm getting goose bumps just thinking about it. I have family members that have served in the military, Ms. Poole has members that have served and this is just one way for us to give back and honor them for all that they've sacrificed for our freedoms here in the United States."

Sealy Elementary also held a Bring a Vet to School Day Wednesday, while Gilchrist and Hawks Rise will host parades on Thursday. An "All American Heroes" Rally will be held at Deerlake Middle School Thursday morning, while Woodville Elementary hosts a Veteran's breakfast.