5th grader delivers Veteran's Day thanks
NEW YORK MILLS - For one New York Mills 5th grader, this past Veteran's Day was about doing a little more than simply acknowledging the holiday.
Heather Weller wanted to make sure residents at the veteran's home in Fergus Falls knew NY Mills Elementary students appreciated them.
Heather organized a project in the elementary school to send thank-you cards to veterans living in the home. Last Wednesday, Veteran's Day, she hand-delivered cards created by the NY Mills students.
The project was a show of respect to veterans and made Heather feel pretty good.
"Their faces smiled when I gave the cards to them," Heather said of her trip to Fergus Falls.
The veterans' reactions were as expected, telling the 5th-grader thank you and how nice it was for her to bring them cards.
"That made me feel proud, like I had done something good," she said.
Heather came up with the idea after visiting her great uncle in the home this past summer. Her mother, Kristi, said Heather was fascinated with the home during their visit and spent a good deal of time exploring the building and talking to residents.
Heather commented to her mom that the home was a "neat place and really cool!" Following the visit to the veteran's home, Heather's class took a field trip to the Vietnam Memorial Traveling Wall at the NY Mills V.F.W. in September.
She was impressed and since wondered what she could do to show her appreciation to veterans and soldiers. That's where the thank-you card idea came in, and she wanted to get other students involved with the project.
"We thought it would be great if all the students in the elementary could do a thank-you card or a picture story, whatever they or the teachers prefer," Kristi wrote in a letter to Heather's teacher, Doug Salo.
Heather hand-made 85 cards so each veteran at the home would have a card from her, while other students and classes sent along more cards and posters. The veterans received a total of about 200 cards that day. Kristi and Heather also received 180 email thank yous from 13 states and 101 towns to pass along to the veterans.
The visits to the home and seeing the Traveling Wall clearly impacted the 11-year-old. "I got the idea to thank them because they've done so much for us," she said.