Thompson to honor former Tuskegee Airman

Thompson High School students will honor a former Tuskegee Airman during the school’s Veterans’ Day celebration Nov. 10.

The celebration, which has been held at the school since 9/11, will feature the school’s band, choir and Air Force Junior ROTC programs. This year, the school will honor Col. Harry Ford Jr., a former Tuskegee Airman and Maylene resident who died Feb. 28, 2009.

“It allows them leadership opportunities, and a chance to thank those in part responsible for the freedoms we enjoy as Americans,” said retired Col. Eldon Woodie, who is in charge of Thompson High School’s Junior ROTC program.

The program will be held in the school’s gym Nov. 10 from 8:30 a.m.-9:30 a.m., and will be entirely student-run and funded, Woodie explained.

Every year, the event draws many local veterans, police and other emergency responders and more than 1,800 Thompson High School students.

“I’ve been fortunate to attend many ceremonies around the world honoring veterans, and the Thompson ceremony rates at the top,” Woodie said. “This year, there will be a special tribute to Col. Ford, who was a Tuskegee Airman and passed away within the last year.”

The free event will be open to all veterans, and will feature patriotic music, refreshments and will give students a chance to speak with the veterans, Woodie said.

“The contributions of all past and present veterans are recognized,” Woodie said. “The kids take a bunch of pride in doing it.”