Cal vets

Shawn Roche, a resident of Crabtree-Kovacicek Veterans House in Washington, left, is greeted by Jack Gillon, a member of the Roscoe American Legion firing squad Friday at a program honoring veterans in California.

CALIFORNIA – About a dozen former homeless veterans were treated to lunch, blankets and toiletries and honor and respect Friday at the invitation of California Area Elementary School.

“That’s awesome,” said Shawn Roche, upon learning the students had gifts for him and other residents of Crabtree-Kovacicek Veterans House in Washington.

“It comes from parents teaching kids respect, core values,” said Roche, who served in the U.S. Army in the 1980s.

Principal Rachel Nagy said the veterans program is one of the best events at the school each year.

“The kids get so excited, Nagy said. “They do know these folks are in need of our help.”

The first- and second-graders made hand-tied blankets for the veterans to take home with them. The entire school held a toiletries drive, bringing in more than 1,000 items for the veterans, said school volunteer Susan Yadamec-Baumgard.

“We have a saying at our school, #bethekindkid,” Yadamec-Baumgard said. “We are hoping doing these things will help teach our youth just how important a veteran’s sacrifice is.”

Steven Adams, manager of veterans services at the City Mission, said a school celebrating veterans is awesome.

“Kids doing this stuff is real,” Adams said.

Staff Writer

Scott Beveridge is a North Charleroi native who has lived most of his life in nearby Rostraver Township. He is a general assignments reporter focusing on investigative journalism and writing stories about the mid-Mon Valley.

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