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Students display writing, speaking skills at Oration Contest

For the second year running, Abigail Murrell, a sixth grader at St. Dominic School in Garden City, placed first in the Diocesan Civic Oration Contest, sponsored by the Modern Woodmen of America. It was held April 14 at the St. Dominic School gym in Garden City. The theme for the contest was, “A Time When Volunteers Made a Difference.” In second and third place were Baleigh Fry, sixth grader at Holy Family School in Great Bend, and Kaileigh Ummel, an eighth grader at Sacred Heart School in Ness City, respectively. Congratulations to Abby, Baleigh and Kaileigh, and to all those from across the diocese who competed in the oration contest.

‘Honor Flight’

Many were drafted and many volunteered, but all sacrificed for us.
During World War I and II, they liberated nations and stormed beaches against terrible odds with incredible bravery. They returned home heroes and are known as the Greatest Generation.
During Korea and Vietnam, they fought Communism for two nations who could not defend themselves alone. Most of them were teenagers, a world away from the hometowns they grew up in, and sadly many came home unappreciated.  
In Desert Storm, Iraqi Freedom, and Afghanistan they defeated a dictator and his army, and a terrorist and his followers, who wanted to do one thing, destroy the western world.

I am proud of our veterans and happy to know that today volunteers nationwide are giving back to the generations that gave so much, through the Honor Flight Network.  
The Honor Flight Network was started by Retired Air Force Captain Earl Morse, who volunteered his pilot services to take veterans to Washington D.C.
After realizing many veterans dreamt of making the trip, he asked fellow pilots to volunteer as well and the Honor Flight was born.  
Honor Flight relies on local volunteers working together in various ways to send veterans to Washington D.C.  Last Spring 100 Southwest Kansas veterans were sent on the trip of a lifetime, thanks to thousands of volunteers in Kansas.
Through 4-H, I had the opportunity to volunteer and help raise funds for the Southwest Kansas Honor Flight veterans.  
I had the chance to serve chili and sell tickets to raise money and even talked my dad into donating metal art for the cause.  
In the past two years, 4-H clubs in Finney County raised nearly $14,000, enough to send 18 veterans to Washington D.C.
I will never forget going to the Garden City airport to welcome them home from the Honor Flight, and getting to meet some of them this year at the 4-H Honor Flight chili feed.
Just recently, my grandma and I interviewed Herb Epp, one of our local veterans, who was on the Honor Flight out of Garden City. He shared stories and pictures of the trip he took with us. He said, “It’s a trip I’ll treasure all of my life, part of my memory until they day that I die.”
Since Honor Flight’s beginning, thousands of volunteers in more than 30 states have raised funds to send over 81,000 veterans to our nation’s capital to see the war memorials which have been built to honor them.
You never know when a veteran may cross your path.  When we moved into our house my parents hired a man named Jesse to paint the inside rooms.  Little did I know he was a World War II veteran and that someday I would help raise money to send him to honor the war in which he fought.
So the next time you see someone painting a house or in any other walk of life, don’t be surprised if they sacrificed for freedom somewhere far, far away in the world, and if they have, be sure to shake their hand and say, “Thank you  for your service.”  
Oh, by the way Jesse, I won’t tell anyone but … you missed a spot.   


Diocese of Dodge City

910 Central PO Box 137 Dodge City, KS 67801 | 620-227-1500

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