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Fairgrieve Elementary students welcome veteran, donate to Wounded Warrior Project

In honor of Veterans’ Day, students at Fairgrieve Elementary School recently welcomed U.S. Army veteran Donna Kestner to its morning assembly to discuss the importance of service and sacrifice.

U.S. Army veteran Donna Kestner (left) meets with Fairgrieve Elementary School sixth grader Zachary Howard and Principal Jean Ciesla. Fairgrieve students recently raised $200 for the Wounded Warrior Project.
U.S. Army veteran Donna Kestner (left) meets with Fairgrieve Elementary School sixth grader Zachary Howard and Principal Jean Ciesla. Fairgrieve students recently raised $200 for the Wounded Warrior Project.

Kestner was stationed at the Pentagon for four years and she told the students about some of the agencies and services available to veterans.

“We have some local things happening at the Veterans’ Hospital in Syracuse,” she said. “There is also the Wounded Warrior Project, which helps make life a bit easier for the men and women who return from service with injuries.”

The Wounded Warrior Project was familiar to the Fairgrieve students, who took up a collection and raised $200 for the organization.

“Your dollars, your pennies is truly a help,” Kestner said. “It helps buy items to fill backpacks for the wounded warriors.”

While the financial contributions are valuable, Kestner said a simple thank you is equally valuable.

“Just say thank you,” she said. “You can’t always give money, but saying thank you is just as nice.”

For sixth grader Zachary Howard, whose father served as a chef for the Air Force and the Army, he said he makes sure to show his appreciation for his dad every day.

“I love my dad,” Howard said. “I’m happy for what he did to serve his country. I’m really proud.”