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Volney Elementary Brings Back Tradition of Honoring Local Veterans

Volney Elementary Brings Back Tradition of Honoring Local Veterans

Fulton’s Volney Elementary School revived its annual Veterans Day celebration this year, bringing back a tradition of honoring local servicepersons.

On Thursday, Nov. 10, the students of Volney Assembly gathered together with families and community figures to honor and celebrate Veterans Day. As part of the annual tradition, students were encouraged to invite their own heroes to the event, bringing in family members who had served – or were serving – in the US armed forces. 29 such veterans were in attendance.

The ceremony began with words of welcome from Volney Principal Elizabeth Stoddard before turning the podium over to Donna Kestner. Kestner, herself a US Army veteran and retired member of the Oswego County Veterans Agency, spoke briefly on behalf of the Fulton Veterans Council and recognized the school’s special visitors. After some words of greeting and gratitude from Fulton Mayor Deana Michaels, each of the visiting veterans were announced and honored. Certificates were presented by the students themselves, who greeted their veteran parents, grandparents and other family members with smiles and warm embraces.

The event concluded with the singing of “America the Beautiful” and “God Bless the USA” by the entire student body.

The school has maintained this Veterans Day tradition for nearly a decade and a half, only pausing over the last two years to weather the pandemic.

“It’s important for our students to see real life examples of humility, selflessness and serving something bigger than yourself,” said organizer Bill Cahill, a teacher at Volney. Alongside fellow teacher Stephanie Zimmerman, Cahill has arranged the event since its beginnings. In the past, the event has honored as many as 42 veterans. Cahill was sure to point out that this was the first year that a World War II or Korean War veteran was not in attendance.

“Veterans Day is a reminder that freedom isn’t free,” said Cahill. “Our kids are always looking for heroes and it’s a time to see that those heroes are their family members, next-door neighbors, and fellow citizens that answered the call to serve.”