HAZLE TOWNSHIP, Pa. Students swapped books for breakfast at Hazleton Area High School on Friday to honor veterans. It's all part of a yearly tradition where student volunteers host those who served our country for a special event inside the school.
"This is, I guess you would call it a class project. This is the fourth time we've done this," said senior Madelyn Labuda.
Veterans see this as a nice opportunity to interact with members of a younger generation and tell them about their service.
"I enjoy the students, they ask you questions and I feel good," said Korean War veteran Bill Boyer.
Veterans tell Newswatch 16 the welcoming atmosphere at Hazleton Area High School is heartwarming.
"When I first got back to the United States, a Vietnam veteran was very, very unpopular. We were hated. I had someone spit on me in the Oakland airport and got called a capitalistic child killer, warmonger, whatever. And as I walk into this building, all the students thanking us for our service, it was overwhelming," said Vietnam War veteran Wayne Seely. "It still is."
Seely is thankful to have the appreciation of these students just as these students are thankful for his service and the service of all the veterans.
"It would literally be impossible for us to be here without our veterans. We want to thank them in the nicest way possible. This is the smallest deed we could do for them every year to show our true appreciation for veterans," said senior Charlie Valdez.