In honor of Veteran’s Day, Creekmoor Elementary hosted its annual Veterans Day Breakfast on Monday, November 10th. Creekmoor PTA provided breakfast in the library where a slide show displayed the names and pictures of family members who have served in the armed forces. Following breakfast the Veteran’s and their families moved into the gymnasium where kindergarteners waved American flags as they were seated. Dr. Fellhauer, Principal of Creekmoor opened the program by welcoming and giving thanks to our Veterans. Dr. Kari Monsees, Superintendent of the Ray-Pec School District and Mayor Kerckhoff addressed the audience as well. Presentation of the Colors was done by Cub Scout Pack 315. Students of all grade levels participated in the program one way or another. “It’s a school wide event,” said Dr. Fellhauer.
Retired Lt. Col Ralph Keller, was honored during the program. He graduated from high school at a young age and started teaching first grade at 16. At 17 he enlisted in the Navy and went to Memphis, TN. From there he was sent to the Naval Air Technical Training Center in Norman, OK, then Guam, Saipan and Okinawa and was on aircraft carrier Boxer when the war ended. He was then sent to China to evacuate foreign nationalists. After a 20 year break he enlisted into the Air Force Chaplaincy that would again take him all over the world until he retired in 1984.
Lt. Col Keller told stories of his service. One in particular was of a young officer that called him just a few days before Christmas. He had just found out that his wife was coming to visit. The day she was to arrive he was assigned to a plane. He asked Keller to meet her in his place. Thirty minutes before he was to meet her the young man’s plane had been hit, disintegrated, no chance of survival. All they were able to tell his wife was that he was MIA, but she knew. Instead of leaving, his wife stayed and made 300 cupcakes to be delivered on Christmas day for the servicemen. He said, “It wasn’t easy to be a Chaplain. One of the most difficult things of being a Chaplain is when you have to make hard decisions. Those were never easy. You never knew what to expect.”
He is still very active within the community. He is an ordained minister and serves as a Chaplain at Foxwood Springs. He said, “All of the heroes are not just men and women in uniform. There are a lot of wives and mothers and fathers and relatives that are also heroes along the way.” he said.
At the end of the program the Retiring of the Colors was done by the Brownie and Girls Scout Troops from Creekmoor Elementary.
Story and Photos by Tiffany Goss