Washoe tribe students honor veterans, learn about military | NevadaAppeal.com

Washoe tribe students honor veterans, learn about military

by F.T. Norton

Pascal Carpiaux moved to America with his parents from Belgium when he was 10 years old. While in college, said Carpiaux, “I somehow decided I should pay this country back.”

Carpiaux enlisted in the U.S. Army and spent the next 21 years serving his adopted country. Ten years ago he retired in Carson City. Now adjutant for the Capital Post 4 American Legion, Carpiaux on Wednesday joined other veterans, active duty and military hopefuls at the Washoe Tribe Headstart’s tribute to Veterans Day.

Teacher Judy Dunn said her class of 3- to 5-year-olds have been learning for weeks about the military. The walls of the little school on the Stewart Reservation in south Carson City are lined with framed thank you letters from American troops abroad who have received some of the cards penned by the students here.

For weeks the children practiced the Pledge of Allegiance and marching, and on Wednesday they demonstrated both perfectly for their honored guests.

Then with Army National Guard Sgt. First Class John Dube and Staff Sgt. Sean McCoy hoisting them in and out, the three classes were allowed to crawl through a Humvee and scamper around in an LMTV, a monstrous 2.5 ton cargo truck with tires taller than most of the children.

Susan McElfish, president of the Sierra Nevada Chapter 2 of the Blue Star Mothers of Nevada, said she was glad to be a part of the day’s festivities.

McElfish has two sons serving in the Army, Michael, 33, with the Nevada National Guard, and Matthew, 23, active duty in the Army and currently stationed in Kuwait.

Her family knows firsthand the sacrifices America’s military members and families make. Her nephew, Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 Joshua Rodgers, 29, was killed May 30, 2007, when his helicopter was shot down in Afghanistan. In honor of her nephew she participates in the Red Shirt Walks through Carson City. During the warmer months the walks are held on Fridays. Since daylight saving last weekend the group now meets on Saturdays.

But on Wednesday, she only spoke of her sons and how proud she was of them. She told the children she will help get their letters to the troops overseas.

“The kids love this,” said McElfish of the program Wednesday. “Someone said they are like little sponges, and they are, they just soak this stuff up.”