American heroes act in powerful ways for those who have no power. The 9/11 Remembrance Grant allowed Hill AFB to create a powerful partnership with United Way to support the heroes inside the gates as well as those outside; its neighbors.
On May 11, Samuel Morgan Elementary School in Kaysville celebrated Heroes' Day with a reading in the library, deployment briefings and a special honor guard flag retirement ceremony. The fourth, fifth and sixth grade classes received the deployment briefings from Master Sgt. Daniel Bosche, Staff Sgt. Gary Chitwood, Senior Airman Jason Weber, Airman 1st Class Shane Davie and Airman 1st Class Jeffrey Lanier, all of the 75th Security Forces Squadron. Tech. Sgt. Gabriella Austin read in the library to the kids and the Hill AFB Honor Guard, led by 2nd Lt. Danny Chung, retired the flag.
Judith Maughan, 75th Force Support Squadron Educations program officer said, "Although most people would include fire personnel, police and military men and women in their list of heroes, after 9/11 many of us changed our perceptions, broadening our ideas of who our heroes were and deepening our respect for them. So when the United Way approached us on the 10th anniversary of 9/11 and asked if we'd like to partner with them we thought it would be an amazing opportunity for Hill Air Force Base to work with local schools in support of military families and the community as a whole."
Heroes' Day was first celebrated at Hill Field Elementary School last fall in an effort to create a village type support system for children affected by the loss of a parent through a heroic act or by deployment. Through the use of a liaison, such as Educations Program Officer Judith Maughan, a communication bridge is created. Teachers are better able to meet the individual needs of students and students learn to see the value of the sacrifices made by their peers and peers' families. At the same time, everyone learns about heroes and career opportunities. "It allows all of us to really recognize the many different types of heroes that live among us," said Maughan.
At the end of Heroes' Day the Honor Guard quietly and suddenly departed without fanfare, as is typical in these types of ceremonies, the school bell rang and the crowds of children dissipated.
"This project makes us proud to be American. Hopefully by reaching out to our elementary schools the kids will learn to love, respect and honor our flag as they grow up. I also hope they realize the sacrifice our heroes, firefighters, police officers and our military make for them each and every day," said Maughan.