Calera High School students honor veterans

Jim Marquess, a WWII veteran, and wife Allene, center, watch as Calera High School SGA club members clean their yard in appreciation of his service to our country. (Contributed)

By MOLLIE BROWN / Community Columnist

Prior to the season of peace and goodwill toward men, Calera High School students recognized veterans who fought in many battles to protect our families, heritage and freedom.

To honor those who have sacrificed their time and lives for our country, CHS clubs and organization spent several afternoons raking leaves, cleaning gutters and cutting grass at the homes of veterans in the Calera community.

Angela Glover, SGA sponsor, said it is the third year they’ve performed the Veterans Day project. “The first year we had just a handful of clubs, but now just about every club participates. Students are asked to bring rakes, gloves and plenty of enthusiasm. This is the second year our club has raked the Marquess’ yard. The kids have so much fun. Mr. Marquess lets them fill his truck bed with leaves, then they ride in it to empty them.”

Glover was referring to Jim and Allene Marquess. Jim served in the Merchant Marines during World War II.

In addition to yard work, the students had a special surprise for him.

“It’s very nice the students wanted to come out to clean our yard,” Allene said. “They were scheduled to come Nov. 9, which happens to be Jim’s birthday, but it rained. They had fixed a meal for us, so they brought it on and surprised Jim with a birthday cake. It was extremely nice of them to take the time to do that and they seemed to really enjoy doing it.”

Other veterans recognized were Billy Goff, Shelton Reeves, Claudus Tidwell, Cecil Franklin, Lorne Nunnaly, Jake Manasco, Curtis Dennis, W. O. Thomas, Billy Bradshaw, Hershel Sizemore and Arthur Davis.

Principal Richard Bishop said 10 teachers and more than 100 students were involved in the service project. “The Veterans Day project is one of our favorite service projects. The student volunteers from the clubs really enjoy giving back to these people who gave so much of their life to help make our country what it is today. Additionally, it’s a great way for our veterans to see that the Calera community has some awesome kids.”

School clubs and organizations who participated were National Junior Honor Society, Student Government Association, Key, Baseball, Technology Student Association, Future Career Community Leaders of America, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, volleyball, Future Teachers Association, DECA, Future Business Leaders of America, band, pre-algebra and algebra I teams.

Mollie Brown can be reached at dmjhb1@bellsouth.net.