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Continuing a Veterans Day tradition started by Owen County High School alumnus Mary Kennedy, junior Mattie Cook coordinated the lunch and assembly program that recognized local veterans.
Cook said she was proud to accept responsibility for the program because she is passionate about showing appreciation to veterans and helping other students better understand why veterans should be appreciated every day of the year.
“(Kennedy) had asked me last year to help her out and kind of shadow her so that I would be able to coordinate the event this year. It just felt like the right thing to do. I’m a firm believer that if you want something done and you want it done right, you just have to get out there and do it yourself.”
Cook said she and other students began planning the event in late September.
“We had a lot of information saved from the last few years,” Cook said. “It was pretty easy to get started this year.”
Cook said flyers were posted across town and information was published in the News-Herald in hopes of having dozens of veterans attend.
“We had 36 actual veterans this year,” Cook said. “Overall we had about 100 (guests) with the veterans and their families who had lunch with us. I know that number is up from last year. I was really pleased with the turnout.”
Students served lunch to the veterans and their families before the assembly began.
The speaker during this year’s OCHS veterans assembly was Grant County’s Roger Bingham. Bingham participated on the popular TV show “Survivor: Australia Season 2,” where he took home the title of last survivor.
“We wanted someone who was really personable,” Cook said. “We thought a lot of students would recognize Bingham and he would hold students’ attention. We wanted him to really drive home what all we as students can do to help veterans, and I think he did a good job of that.”
Some students also participated in the assembly by performing or reading poetry.
Owen County Judge/Executive Carolyn Keith and Owenton Mayor David “Milkweed” Wotier handed out certificates of appreciation to veterans during the assembly.
Cook said she would like to thank everyone involved for the time and effort put into the program.
“We wouldn’t have had a program if it weren’t for everyone who helped me,” Cook said.