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EHS Hosts Veteran’s Day Program

RICHMOND — Past and present military personnel were remembered and celebrated for their courage and sacrifice in the name of freedom during the 30th annual Veterans Day program at Edison High School.

Students, teachers and staff were joined by members of the Richmond American Legion Post 740 Honored Seven for the observance, which included readings, music and reflections of patriotism. Social Studies teacher Paul Baker organized the event and recognized Legionnaires and featured speaker U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class James Gorrell.

Post Commander J.O. Henry recognized the Legion members in attendance and thanked the school for hosting the event, saying people should not only thank veterans but also ask about their service.

Chaplain Dan Vojvodich said those serving today should also be highlighted and the purpose of an Armed Forces member is to serve and protect our freedoms.

Member Mark Clark said he once played on Edison’s basketball court and thanked the administration and school district for improvements to the facility, plus he thanked the students for their support.

Next was featured speaker Sgt. Gorrell, a 2005 EHS graduate who trained as a combat medic with the 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum, N.Y., and was deployed to Baghdad, Iraq, during Operation Iraqi Freedom from 2006-07. He transitioned off active duty in 2009 and became a medical platoon sergeant for the U.S. Army Reserves’ 463rd Engineer Battalion in Wheeling, W.Va., where he served until August of 2012. He later became part of the 328th Combat Operational Stress Control Detachment based in Coraopolis, Pa., and completed the Army’s eight-month occupational therapy assistant program. He served in various roles including detachment sergeant until he returned to active duty in 2017 as the Army Active Guard Reserve recruiter for the Steubenville recruiting station. He is married to Kayla Gorrell, a fellow EHS alum, and has one daughter named Allison.

Sgt. Gorrell brought his young daughter and Pvt. Hunter Huggins, a recent Edison grad and U.S. Army combat medic trainee, to the observance and explained the importance of symbolism in the military from patches to mottoes.

He lauded his teachers and coaches who inspired and encouraged him, saying he hoped they realized the significant impact they had upon his life.

Other activities included a color guard featuring members of Boy Scout Troop No. 10; readings of “Freedom Is Not Free” by teacher David Schultz, “In Flanders Fields” by teacher Ellen Swickard and “The Wall” by former teacher Tony Kovalesky; performances of the National Anthem and a military salute by the EHS Marching Band and “Song of the Unsung Hero” and “American Tears” by the junior and senior high choirs; a rendition of Taps and closing remarks by EHS Principal Matt Morrison.

The elementary schools held their own events that day with John Gregg hosting a breakfast and assembly for students and about 58 veterans and Stanton inviting the public for an afternoon of music, poetry and other patriotic presentations.

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