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Veterans Honored Friday at Malesus Elementary School

By Brittany Nicholson
By bnicholson@wbbjtv.com

SOUTH JACKSON -- A local elementary school takes time to recognize those who serve our country. But Friday, the man who started this program missed it for the first time.

Every year Malesus Elementary students honor American military veterans in a special program.

"It's a good experience, it's a lot of laugh, a lot of fun, enjoyable to be with all these guys," Charles Rowe, a local veteran said.

Veterans look forward to reconnecting and sharing this day with students.

Jim Odle, another local veteran said, "we're brothers, we speak a language that no one else understands."

""To see the looks on little children's faces.. It's just a wonderful feeling to be recognized by these little people," said Tom Turner, who fought in Vietnam.

In preparation for today's service children were able to hang artwork and letters to veterans on the walls. The students and faculty also created a video thanking veterans for their service.

One video from a student described her idea of a veteran, "a person who's brave enough to risk their lives for another person they haven't even met."

Technical Sergeant Jim Fielding, who died this year, started the program years ago. His family was presented an award in his memory during the program.

Jim's wife says he was dedicated to serving and honoring our country.
"When Jim asked me to marry him he said you marry me, you marry the US Air Force because they come first with whatever happens in our life."

The family says they look forward to attending the service each year and remembering Sergeant Fielding for years to come.

Sergeant Fielding's son, Jim Fielding said, "our legacy and our children's legacy that all our kids and grand kids went to school here.. it means the world to us."

The family was also told today at the presentation they will be honoring a veteran every year with an award in Sergeant Fielding's name.
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