OGDEN -- Junior ROTC members from Clearfield High School recently gave thanks to veterans at the George E. Wahlen Veterans Home with Christmas stockings and carols.
"They're bringing some music and some great voices and a lot of energy," said Steven Shadday, a member of Chapter 237 of the Air Force Association, of the JROTC students in attendance on Dec. 19. "They spent (the night) stuffing some socks with apples, oranges, toiletry stuff. They're just giving back to the veterans, which is what they like to do."
Chapters 237 and 235 of the Air Force Association, Civil Air Patrol squadrons in the area, and the JROTCs of Clearfield and Northridge high schools joined forces to bring veterans some Christmas cheer. Along with the stockings, veterans also received Christmas cards made by Syracuse Elementary students.
"Some of the socks and materials were purchased, some of the toiletries were donated by hotel chains," said Francis Bradshaw, a member of Chapter 237 of the Air Force Association. "Some of the items were donated by Target and Walmart."
Kardelle Kibbe, a member of Clearfield High's JROTC, said she enjoys her annual trip to the veterans home.
"It's great, it's really fun, and it's really worth it," Kibbe said. "I did it last year and it just brought smiles to everybody's faces. Some of them were crying because they were so happy. It made you feel like you were going to explode of joy."
Bill Hoffman, a resident at the veterans home, said the stocking, card and carols are important to him because he is alone this holiday season.
"I think it's great, wonderful," Hoffman said of the service project. "I served 36 years in the military and Junior ROTC is a great way to start. I'm here by myself, my wife is in Brigham City and she can't get down to me; there's too much snow and too cold. I appreciate this very much."
P.J. Woodbury, recreation director at the veterans home, said this annual act of service is about more than the stockings and carols to her center's residents.
"It means so much because they know that the younger generation is committed to their country and possibly going to serve full-time for their country," Woodbury said. "And they love to share their experiences with the younger generation."
As the group toured the halls singing carols and handing out stockings and Christmas cards, one of the residents shared an experience of his with the JROTC students. The man had been in Normandy during World War II and told of losing a friend and the amount of work and sacrifice it took to earn a Purple Heart under General George S. Patton.
"Earn those medals. Be proud of it. You earned it the hard way," the man said, pointing to the JROTC students. "Be proud of the uniform you wear. Be damn proud of it. Nobody can take your place."
The man then shook hands with each of the students with a parting, "Give 'em hell."
"That's why this is important to these kids," said Maj. Kit Workman, JROTC instructor at Clearfield High. "To talk to a guy who was in Normandy. Not many chances left for that."
"It was really emotional," said Dakota Fiske, JROTC student from Clearfield High, adding that the man's speech was very sobering. "You don't get to hear things like that every day. Hearing it from someone who was there is a lot different than just hearing about it from history textbooks in school. I kind of started to tear up a little bit. But, I figure I might be going through the same thing later in my life. I thought I might just be in his situation one day."