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JCPS celebrates Johnston County Veterans

Johnston County Public Schools (JCPS) held a dinner for active and retired veterans, their families, and JROTC cadets on Tuesday, Nov. 15 at Cleveland High. 

Due to the threat of inclement weather, JCPS made the difficult decision to cancel its annual Veterans Day celebration. However, that did not stop the district from honoring the military heroes of Johnston County.

The cafeteria was adorned with red, white, and blue from the place settings to the table toppers. In addition, at each place setting was a piece of art created by JCPS kindergarten students in honor of the veterans. 

The entrance to the school was decorated with 50 American flags, which were provided by the Clayton Rotary Club. Upon entering the cafeteria veterans were greeted by JROTC (Junior Reserve Officer Training Cadets) of Cleveland High.

Participants of the ceremony included Johnston County Director of Veterans Services Robert Boyette, Board of Education member Lynn Andrews, County Commissioner Ted Godwin,  JCPS Executive Director of Communication Caitlin Furr,  JROTC cadets from Cleveland High, and student and community volunteers.

“We want our veterans to have the opportunity to be celebrated in the manner that they deserve, and to fellowship together with our students and staff,” said Caitlin Furr. 

Johnston County Director of Veterans Services Robert Boyette addressed the crowd before they were served a Thanksgiving style meal prepared by JCPS School Nutrition Services staff. 

You are appreciated and loved, and we’re glad you’re here. 

~ Johnston County Director of Veterans Services Robert Boyette ~

 Boyette hoped the event would ensure the veterans knew that they hadn't been forgotten. “You are appreciated and loved, and we’re glad you’re here,” he said.

Several veterans spoke of the amazing support for the nearly 14,000 veterans in Johnston County. “There are a lot of comrades out there to be friends with, to meet with, and tell war stories with,” said veteran Tom Humphrey.  “It’s just a lot of fun!” 

The veterans that served in Vietnam talked about how much the warm reception and gratitude for their service meant to them.

JCPS Board of Education member Lynn Andrews said of the event, “It’s so vital. What better way to honor our veterans than to host an event such as this.” 

A veteran is defined as someone who at some point in their life, wrote a blank check to the United States of America for an amount up to, and including their life. 

When asked how the event made him feel, 95-year-old World War II veteran Sherrill Stevens exclaimed, “Proud!”