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Aux Sable Middle School students write to Korean War veteran

(Far right) Meghan Cork, who teaches eighth-grade social studies and English language arts at Aux Sable Middle School, organizes letters and cards on Friday, May 3, 2019 for Korean War veteran Olen Ray Thomas with the help of a few eighth grade students who helped write the letters. Cork asked her students and eight other Aux Sable eighth-grade social studies classes to write letters to Thomas to read on his way back from a day of visiting war memorials and monuments in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, May 11, 2019.  These letters will be given to Korean War veteran Olen Ray Thomas during mail call on the nonprofit Queen City Honor Flight out of Charlotte, North Carolina on Saturday, May 11, 2019.    Aux Sable Middle School eighth graders wrote about 150 letters in their social studies classes last week to a Korean War veteran they never met.

Olen Ray Thomas, who was a medic in the war, will receive the letters during mail call as he flies home on May 11, 2019 with dozens of World War II, Korean and Vietnam war veterans after spending the day touring war memorials in Washington, D.C.

Aux Sable English language arts and social studies teacher Meghan Cork learned of Thomas through her mom Kim Craig’s childhood friend, who is also Thomas’s daughter.

The trip to Washington is sponsored by the Queen City Honor Flight out of Charlotte, N.C.

Nonprofit honor flight groups around the country takes war veterans on free, day-long trips to see the memorials dedicated to their service and sacrifice.

Cork’s students were 100 percent on board with writing the letters, although they had no idea who he was, she said. Their kind gesture to recognize that he a did a lot and that this is a special day for him, would mean a lot to him, Cork told her students.

The students asked for details about Thomas including which branch he served in, how long he served and his rank, so they could make the letter as personal as possible, Cork said.

Cork also enlisted other eighth-grade social studies students to write letters of thanks to Thomas, who served in the Marines and the Navy.

The project produced stacks of colorful cards and letters Thomas can read on his flight home.

Eighth graders are currently studying the Holocaust and World War II, so the letter writing project was a good way to engage her students in history, Cork said.

Students used words such as brave, sacrifice, thank you and amazing in their letters to Thomas.

“I’m truly and sincerely thankful for everything you have done for our country,” wrote one of Cork’s students. “It is because of brave men like yourself that America is safe.”