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Past, present service members honored at ‘Take a Veteran to School Day’

Columbus Elementary School in Thornwood pays tribute as Veterans Day approaches

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THORNWOOD— For the third year in a row, Christine Galbo has organized “Take a Veteran to School Day” at Columbus Elementary School.

Sixty-five past and present service members were honored in the event Thursday morning. They also interacted with young students, something Galbo says is beneficial for all involved.

"They were actually very clearly able to tell me why Veterans Day was so important. So, mission accomplished," Galbo said.

The kids got the chance to ask the vets questions and take pictures with them.

“It's special because my grandpa can come and we can have fun together and I can show him my classroom," said fifth grader Ryan Pisacano, who brought his grandfather Paul, a retired U.S. Army veteran.

"It's fabulous the way the kids treat the veterans. They really respect [us]. Last year when I was here, it was unbelievable," the elder Pisacano said.

To show his appreciation, U.S. Army Captain Howard Brito presented the school with an honorary flag and certificate.

"There's something that we receive around the holidays, and it's really the most touching thing that we get when we're deployed and its letters from kids," Capt. Brito said.

Perhaps the biggest honor of the day went to Joseph Alaimo. Currently a bus driver in the Mount Pleasant School District, Joseph left high school early to serve in the Navy. On Thursday, he was presented with an honorary diploma through “Operation Recognition.”

Organizers said “Take a Veteran to School Day” has become so popular that other school districts have reached out to Mount Pleasant to see how they can host a day like this as well.

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