Archive for Wednesday, April 9, 2003

Hutchinson High to honor soldiers

April 9, 2003

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— Hutchinson High School is preparing a wall of honor to recognize active-duty soldiers who graduated from the high school.

"Our motivation is to show support for our high school graduates who have volunteered to serve their country and protect the rest of us," counselor Andrea Ewert said.

The school will post the soldiers' pictures, names and addresses so students can write to them.

Soldiers can be serving anywhere -- not just the Middle East.

Stephen Washington's 28-year-old son, Jerry, a 1993 graduate, is a Marine serving in the Middle East. He was deployed in January and left behind a wife and two daughters, ages 2 and 11 months.

"Anything they can do to support the military right now is important," said Washington, who works at the Hutchinson USD 308 administration office.

Hesston -- A candle formed from the wax from 200 other candles serves as the call to prayer and fasting for peace by Hesston College students.

It was made after a chapel service when students lit individual candles as a call to peace, said Michelle Hershberger, Hesston College Bible professor.

"It's a little misshapen," Hershberger said. "Sometimes you see bits and parts of individual candles, but it means a lot to us."

Even as the war in Iraq continues, Hesston College and nearby Bethel College in North Newton remain constant in their efforts to promote peace.

"There is a strong feeling on campus that there are other alternatives available and a certain sense of sadness that the U.S. has chosen this method to secure its own safety," said Bethel's Gary Flory, director of the Kansas Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution.

The campus is divided by the war, said Erin Gingrich-Gaylord, a Bethel junior.

Hershberger said the majority of students on the Hesston campus were people of peace.

"But we have tried to keep the dialogue open for those who have different opinions," she said. "We want them to feel loved."

Manhattan -- With about 5,000 troops from nearby Fort Riley and 100 area reservists deployed, Manhattan-area businesses will salute U.S. troops and their families this weekend.

John Armbrust, military affairs representative for the Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce, said the chamber was asking businesses to offer discounts or services to military families as part of "We Support Our Troops Weekend."

"We're encouraging organizations and businesses to do anything they can," Armbrust said.

He said free oil changes or 20 percent discounts on purchases are good examples of such support.

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