A salute to students at Danville Area High School who are looking at expanding the outreach provided by a school club devoted to honoring and aiding veterans in the region.

The two-year-old club has been active since it rolled out in 2019. As with everything today, the COVID-19 pandemic has hindered some of their efforts but has not disheartened the group.

The Veterans Awareness Club has collected food and bathroom items for troops stationed in Europe, including some who were shipped out from the armory in Montour County. The group hopes to arrange for additional in-person speakers for school events and filming videos of area veterans telling their stories.

The club plays a couple of roles, adviser Michelle Hughes said. In addition to honoring veterans, it also educates students about possible careers in the military. They want to invite speakers, such as someone from the National Guard to talk about opportunities with the National Guard and to "meet with local vets who need help and learn their stories," club President Urvish Patel said.

That's "right up our alley," said Dean VonBlohn, former commander of American Legion Post 40, Danville. "What these students are doing is great. This is the kind of stuff we are looking for. It is part of our mission, as a Legionnaire. To support youth groups."

Not all of the students involved in the club have ties to the military. Patel said he doesn't have any active military members or veterans in his family. He said he "got involved out of respect for their service and sacrifice. I want to help them out in any way possible. I'll still want to be part of the club that helps veterans. We started something here. We're all hoping the club will continue to do things many years from now. At least we are pressing for that."

It is great to see the continued community involvement from students, but especially when it comes to veterans. Dozens of veterans, many of them graduates of Danville Area High School, still live in the region.

We see them at Memorial Day and Veterans' Day celebrations, but many remain silent, proud of their service without the need for the recognition they deserve.

The dozen students who are part of the Veterans Awareness Club, want to recognize them, honor them. They are working on a slideshow and video that will feature as many Danville area veterans as possible, highlighting their stories and service. Veterans who want to be included and need assistance can email Hughes at mhughes@danvillesd.org or call 570-271-3268 ext 1235 and leave a message.

"Most kids in high school don't really understand what people in the service go through," Patel said. "How hard it is mentally and physically, so on the video we want them to come out and share some of their stories about being in the service."

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