Students Surprise Tomahawk Veterans with Honor Flight Trip

By: Liz Hayes Email
By: Liz Hayes Email

Each year the Tomahawk Elementary and Middle schools put on a Veterans Day ceremony inviting the public and all veterans to attend.

This year, there were three very special veterans in the audience who were about to get a big surprise.

Thanks to Tomahawk students who raised $1,500, three veterans will take the Never Forgotten Honor Flight this April.

They were surprised during Monday's Veterans Day celebration at the school complex, which this year centered around the organization that takes veterans to Washington, D.C. to see the memorials made in their honor.

"My wife knew it a week before I did and she kept it a secret so oh I was surprised," said Jim Likwarz, a Korean war veteran who was in the Air Force.

Likwarz, along with John Gwidt Jr. who also served in the Korean War and Robert LaNou who served in WWII, will take the flight, visit the memorials and be welcomed back home in style.

That's something many of them didn't have when they served our country.

"There was three troop ships came back, there was approximately 15,000 on each ship but there was no great celebration for greeting us," Likwarz said.

Likwarz, who enlisted in the Air Force at age 20 in 1950, can remember almost everything about that trip home right before Christmas.

"We hadn't been paid, we were broke and couldn't do much," he said. "I did telegram home for some money, my parents sent me 20 dollars and by the time I lent this guy 5 dollars and this guy 2 dollars I didn't have much left for myself," he remembers.

Likwarz is looking forward to seeing all of the memorials in our nation's capitol and to have a proper welcome home.

Students raised most of the money through a nickel war between classes. They also held a bake sale and sold green and gold beads.

"Our student council thought it would be great to honor our veterans and to not forget them but to remember them," said Richelle Swan, a 5th grader.

Sometimes the concept of Veterans Day is difficult for elementary students to comprehend, but Tomahawk students do appreciate our veterans which was made clear thanks to their generosity.

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