St. Amant Middle recognizes veterans

Michael Tortorich
Veterans and their families gathered along with St. Amant Middle School students and staff Tuesday afternoon to honor veterans.

ST. AMANT – Courageous, dedicated, selfless – those were just a few of the words used to describe veterans.

Students and staff at St. Amant Middle School gathered Tuesday afternoon in the school gym to celebrate the service of the nation’s veterans.

Veteran Chad Lynch, who works in planning and construction for Ascension Parish public schools, served as guest speaker. Lynch, a St. Amant resident and East Ascension High School and LSU graduate, has served in both Afghanistan and Iraq and has worked during the aftermaths of such emergencies as hurricanes Katrina, Gustav and Ike.

Lynch said veterans come from a variety of places and they all have different backgrounds and unique stories. Some serve during wars, while others serve during peace time.

“That’s what you’ve got here today,” Lynch said as overlooked the gym full of veterans, students and staff.

While only about one percent of Americans serve in some military capacity, their service affects their family and friends, along with the communities they live.

Lynch said it is easy to take for granted the peace and freedom Americans enjoy. He said he has seen during his service to the country that “things aren’t peaceful everywhere.”

He told of the dangers he and his fellow service members confronted in Baghdad, Iraq. The risk of bombs going off were a constant threat.

“We’re over there trying to clean up a neighborhood that could come here,” Lynch said.

Lynch was a part of a team that built a wall to block out threats.

“As veterans, we appreciate that you take the time to remember what we did in our service,” he said.

While he was gone, he said the community stepped up and supported his family members.

“Our families struggled more than we did,” Lynch said.

Many people in the community took care of his family in various ways while he was serving.

“It gives us comfort that our family is supported,” he said.

The St. Amant Middle Junior Beta Club sponsored the program. It opened with the St. Amant High School ROTC Color Guard presenting the colors.

Teri Hunter and the eighth grade honor band performed the Star-Spangled Banner, and Beta member Isabella Palmisano led the Pledge of Allegiance.

Junior Beta Sponsor Melee’ Gautreau gave the opening remarks, and Beta member Mason Westbrook spoke about the meaning of Veterans Day.

The St. Amant Middle Dance Team followed with a routine set to “Citizen Soldier.”

Beta member Beau Brown introduced Lynch, and Jordan Hartman announced the names of the veterans and military guests.

Amber LeBlanc closed the program by singing “God Bless the U.S.A.”

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Veteran Chad Lynch serves as the guest speaker during St. Amant Middle School’s Veterans Day program Tuesday afternoon.