March 19, 2016

Students honor local veterans

VetsJoe McIntyre/staff photographer
Cortland High School senior Jake Prignon offers a thank-you letter and a Cortland Elks Lodge mug to Navy veteran Clyde Snowberger, of Groton, Friday at Crown Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation in Cortland.

Staff Reporter

With smiles on their faces, veterans at a local nursinghome listened Friday as high school students read a letter of appreciation and a poemhonoring them for their military service.
Student members of the Cortland High School Renaissance Group and School Health Coordinator Amy Johnson along with Elks Lodge Exalted Ruler John Pinto visited Crown Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation on Kellogg Road to recognize about a dozen of the area’s retired vets.
“You’re in our hearts always,” Pinto said, while addressing the veterans who attended theceremony.
“It was a very nice ceremony,” said Angie O’Neil, wife of Air Force veteran George O’Neil, who was present, “The residents really enjoy the time that people give them.”
This is the first year that the Elks lodge has coordinated local efforts of the “P.S. I Love You Project,” which was initiated by Brooke DiPalmer, a teenager from West Islip, Long Island, who lost her father to suicide in 2010.
“This project is a way for local students to get involved with the community,” Pinto said. “Too often the youth doesn’t have an opportunity to interact with the community.”
Mugs and individual letters were also handed out to each of the veterans present.
“Doing this makes us (the students) feel better when we see the looks on their faces and the excitement it brings,” said Dominique Pace, a junior at Cortland High School.
“It makes them (the vets) feel honored and it’s important that people still care aboutwhat they did when they were in the service,” said Cortland High School senior JakePrignon.
The project was originally started to help those struggling with depression, but soon turned into a “labor of love for our nursing home vets,” Pinto said.
P.S. I Love You participants were also scheduled to make rounds Friday to CortlandPark Rehabilitation in Cortland, Elizabeth BrewsterHouse in Homer, Cortland Regional Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Cortlandand Walden Place in Cortlandville. They plan to make stops to Greenbriar Home For Adults and Rosewood Senior Citizens Home in Cincinnatus on alater date.

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