One teacher making a big difference and supporting the military

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One teacher making a big difference and supporting the military

[Note: Picture above is my HS, not the one in the story.]

The story of Gregory Salcido basically broke my blog, and me personally.  We had over 50,000 people read it (the page tracker is off slightly) and another almost 500 that put in comments.  I had to delete some for profanity and other reasons, but you can read over 200 that are still there, plus all the untold comments from Facebook.

As much as I loathe Salcido and what he said, which was just wrong, ignorant and idiotic, I did feel bad because a lot of people in an emotional state went after teachers in general.  Now, growing up in a VERY small town in Massachusetts, I went to a pretty small school.  In fact, it was 5-12 and I only had 72 kids in my graduating class.   Our wrestling team was so thin we had dudes who had to gain lots of weight just to fill out weight classes.  (My school didn’t even have football, so we threw EVERYTHING into wrestling.)

Anyway, it was a public school, located in the hills of Berkshire county.  It actually had 5 towns that made up the school, and some kids were on the bus for the better part of an hour both ways.  Simply put, I loved my school.  And, my Dad was a teacher there (gym, athletic director, and later assistant principal.)   My Mom was sometimes the school nurse, which also meant I literally couldn’t get away with anything.  All my parents friends were teachers, and I learned to love books at an early age because of those people.

And although I lived in the most liberal place not named California (our town was all artists and things of that nature, authors like Herman Melville, Nathaniel Hawthorne and Edith Wharton) there was a sense of Patriotism that stuck with me for life.  (In addition to love of a similiarly named football team that broke my heart recently.)

So, attacking teachers generally makes me sad.  Don’t get me wrong, Salcido got everything he deserved, and hopefully he’ll get fired tonight.   (Read that here.)

But, anti-military fervor, and anti-American views aren’t espoused solely by teachers, and many do the right thing, day in and day out.

Yesterday I got a submission emailed to me from Richard Guyer about the Salcido thing, discussing one such teacher, and I REALLY want to share it, because this woman is just a wonderful person, a wonderful patriot, and a wonderful mentor for our youth that will one day make up our Armed Forces.

 Virginia Lopez, social studies teacher

Shippensburg, PA

February 8, 2018

I read the Burn Pit article where a high school teacher degraded the men and women who served this country; this man should crawl under a rock for his comments.
In Shippensburg, Pa., we have a high school teacher who holds veterans and the active military in high regard. For 13 consecutive years she has made plans to honor our local veterans and the military at a Veterans Day program held at Shippensburg Area High School, where upwards of 300 veterans and their guests attend this function. I think this lady should be recognized.
I was commander for 14 consecutive years at Post 223 in Shippensburg, and I worked closely with this lady and gave her recognition at these events on behalf of the post. 

Virginia Lopez is a social studies teacher at Shippensburg Area High School in Shippensburg, Pa. For 13 consecutive years she has spent countless hours planning and coordinating the Veterans Day program held at the school. Her preparations begin months in advance, and she personally mails out invitations to the veterans. In that time Virginia has made the Veterans Day program into something very special and as the word has spread, the attendance has increased every year, upwards to 300 veterans and their guests. She honors community veterans at the annual program as a way of supporting the veterans and the military. Each year the program begins with breakfast and entertainment by the high school choral group singing patriotic songs. Once breakfast is finished, the veterans and family members are invited to the auditorium where, after the Posting of the Colors, there’s a slideshow with pictures of local veterans in their uniforms during their periods of service. There’s always a carefully selected guest speaker and more patriotic music. Also during this time, veterans who have continued to serve the community long after they’ve left the military are recognized with the reading of a short synopsis of their service and each is presented with a rose.

Virginia has also had fundraisers to support the Wounded Warrior Project and has become very special to the veterans in the Shippensburg community. However, her service to the community doesn’t end there. She works with a group of students at the high school whose project was to provide coats for children at the local homeless shelter. The students spent time with the children living at the shelter, playing games and giving them a little time away from the shelter. At the 10th annual November 2015 Veterans Day program, Virginia received the Legion of Honor Award from the Chapel of Four Chaplains. The award reads: The Chapel of Four Chaplains is pleased to present The Legion of Honor Award to Virginia Lopez in recognition of your service to all people regardless of race or faith. This award symbolizes for all Americans and for all time the unity of this Nation, founded upon the Fatherhood of one God. Virginia is also considered by the veterans of the Shippensburg community to be a true patriot and proud to be an American.

As much as we excoriate Salcido for espousing his anti-military and anti-American views, I hope we can laud the efforts of Virginia Lopez an equal amount.

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News from the World of Military and Veterans Issues. Iraq and A-Stan in parenthesis reflects that the author is currently deployed to that theater.