Letters of Recognition

By Stephanie Dufner

Letters to veteransEighth grade students at a junior high school in Nixa, Missouri learned a lesson in courage and strength last fall when their social studies teacher asked them to write letters of support to five military veterans battling ALS.  The personalized notes resulted from a parent/teacher meeting between Nixa Junior High’s David Ferguson and Cindy Kirby, a registered nurse who works as Care Coordinator for The ALS Association Keith Worthington Chapter in Springfield, Missouri.

“Mr. Ferguson had impressed me with some of the in-class activities he was doing with my son Austin and other children,” said Kirby.  “A few days after our meeting, two veterans who attend our chapter’s monthly support group meeting in Springfield posted their information to The Association’s Wall of Honor http://www.alsa.org/advocacy/veterans/.”  This prompted Kirby to contact Ferguson and ask him to broadcast a video accompanying the Wall of Honor campaign http://www.youtube.com/user/thealsassociation#p/u/20/MurdNmhAvE4 to the students and ask his pupils to write letters of encouragement to the veterans.

A total of 85 students lauded the onetime soldiers and sailors for their patriotism and bravery.  Some of them revealed that they too have relatives who have served in the military and have fought ALS.

“This school project was mutually beneficial, connecting young people with our nation’s veterans,” said Sally Dwyer, program director at the chapter.  “The young writers displayed a profound understanding of the sacrifices our veterans with ALS have made, and the veterans were deeply moved by the outpouring of compassion in the letters they received.”

The Wall of Honor pays tribute to more than 200 Americans who served their country and have battled Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

Letters to vets

Letters to vets

Letters to vets

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