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Area schools honor veterans

Chief Warrant Oficer Kevin Jensen speaks to Pequot Lakes students during the annual Veteran's Day program to tell them the importance of "packing someone else's parachute" or choosing willingly to support fellow Americans in a variety of ways. Travis Grimler / Echo Journal 1 / 11
Travis Grimler / Echo Journal The Pequot Lakes High School Choir sang the Song for the Unsung Hero in the second half of the school's annual veteran's day program.2 / 11
Jordan Nickey of the Army Reserves spoke of the challenges behind being a woman in active duty, especially doing so while pregnant.3 / 11
Travis Grimler / Echo Journal The crowd at the annual Pequot Lakes Veteran's Day program stood at attention as the the color guard retired the colors at the conclusion of the ceremony.4 / 11
Theresa Bourke / Echo Journal Retired Army Col. Julie Engdahl talks about different Army gear during her Veterans Day presentation at Crosslake Community School Friday, Nov. 10.5 / 11
Theresa Bourke / Echo Journal Veterans stand to be recognized for their service at Crosslake Community School’s Veterans Day program Friday, Nov. 10.6 / 11
Theresa Bourke / Echo Journal Retired Army Col. Julie Engdahl (left) shows students at Crosslake Community School the medals she received for her service. Engdahl was the keynote speaker at the school’s Veterans Day program Friday, Nov. 10.7 / 11
Theresa Bourke / Echo Journal Students at Crosslake Community School look at military gadgets that retired Army Col. Julie Engdahl brought for her Veterans Day presentation Friday, Nov. 10, at the school.8 / 11
Submitted Photo Dell Draves's sister, Kay, accepts the Lifetime Friend of Nisswa Elementary Award for her brother, who died Sept. 15.9 / 11
Travis Grimler / Echo Journal The Pequot Lakes Veteran's day program puts veterans in seats of honor in the center of the gym. Here, those veterans stand for recognition.10 / 11
Hannah Milham places a rose during the white table ceremony at the Pine River-Backus School's Veteran's Day program, Nov. 13.11 / 11

Crosslake, Pequot Lakes, Pine River-Backus and Nisswa schools hosted Veterans Day programs Friday, Nov. 10, and Monday, Nov. 13, to honor area veterans.


Nisswa Elementary School Principal Molly Raske paid tribute to Dell Draves, a longtime Nisswa resident and veteran who died Sept. 15. Draves was active in the Nisswa Garden Club, the Nisswa Historical Society, the Nisswa American Legion and the Nisswa Lions Club.

"Dell was a blessing to the Nisswa area," Raske said in her speech. "He was excited about life, learning, ensuring that students at Nisswa Elementary School had the latest and greatest of technology in their hands, loved giving our fourth-graders pop and cookies at the flag disposal ceremony and sharing the belief that our Nisswa Legion members have for investing in our children and, therefore, our future."

Raske presented Draves's family members with a Lifetime Friend of Nisswa Elementary Award.


Retired Army Col. Julie Engdahl, sister of Crosslake Community School Business Manager Jodi Schott, spoke to students about her time in the Army. Engdahl explained how there are a lot of different jobs in the military - such as instructors, social workers and medics - and emphasized that only 15 percent of military personnel are women.

Veterans in attendance were recognized for their service.

Following Engdahl's presentation, the audience joined students and staff to sing "I'm Proud to Be an American."

After the ceremony, students got to check out gadgets Engdahl brought, including pictures, uniforms and medals.

Pine River-Backus

Jordan Nickey of the Army Reserves spoke to Pine River-Backus students Monday, Nov. 13, regarding the cost of enlisting in the military. Nickey said the military is not a walk in the park for men or women (even while pregnant, as Nickey explained) but determination and hard work can help a person succeed in the military or anywhere else.

The program included ceremonies, the Pledge of Allegiance, the national anthem sung by Paige Poehler, Don Owen, Brianna Blanchard and Brianna Adkins, recognition of current veterans, elementary choir performances of "American Tears" and "Because of You," high school performance of "Homeward Bound," a white table ceremony, a reminder to thank veterans by Activities Director Randy Schwegel, a band performance of "Armed Forces on Parade," and a color guard ceremony, accompanied by taps for the closing of the flag.

Pequot Lakes

The Pequot Lakes Veterans Day ceremony Nov. 10 featured Chief Warrant Officer Kevin D. Jensen speaking to students. Jensen related a story of how soldiers in airplanes trust and depend on other soldiers to safely pack their parachutes during emergencies. He said it is important for everyone, civilian or soldier, to "pack someone else's parachute" by doing what we can to help one another.

The event kicked off with a presentation of the colors followed by the national anthem performed by the Pequot Lakes High School Band, and then the Pledge of Allegiance. William Moe gave a brief history of Veterans Day, followed by a presentation of "In Flanders Fields" by Tabitha Kibbwa.

The Pequot Lakes High School Women's Choir sang "In Flanders Fields" before Sydney Ellison recounted the history of the poppy as a patriotic symbol. Poppies were handed out to veterans in seats of honor in the center of the athletic center. The high school choir performed after Jensen gave his speech and the colors were retired.