by Dennis Dalman
A good time – and a good lunch – was had by all when Sartell Middle School sponsored its annual “Lunch with a Veteran” last Monday, Veterans Day.
At some of the tables in the large lunch room, veterans sat with students. The veterans were related to one or more students as parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, uncles and aunts, cousins or siblings.
At both lunch shifts, the American Legion Honor Guard of Sartell welcomed guests as they arrived. The food staff decorated the kitchen, serving areas and tables for the event.
At one table veteran Steve Kelly sat with his daughter, Kaitlyn, 13, a seventh-grader. Kelly served in the U.S. Navy aboard the U.S.S. Yosemite in 1989. His wife, Jennifer, is a student supervisor at Oak Ridge Elementary and so could not attend the luncheon with her husband and daughter.
“I think this ‘Lunch with a Veteran’ idea is fantastic,” said Steve, as his daughter nodded in agreement. “It helps keeps veterans in the front of everyone’s minds. And the younger generation can learn about the sacrifices made by so many men and women who served their country.”
After the lunches were all served and eaten, everyone gathered in the middle school’s gymnasium for two back-to-back ceremonies to honor veterans. (For more details, see story and editorial about the middle-school events in this paper).
Dalman was born and raised in South St. Cloud, graduated from St. Cloud Tech High School, then graduated from St. Cloud State University with a degree in English (emphasis on American and British literature) and mass communications (emphasis on print journalism). He studied in London, England for a year (1980-81) where he concentrated on British literature, political science, the history of Great Britain and wrote a book-length study of the British writer V.S. Naipaul. Dalman has been a reporter and weekly columnist for more than 30 years and worked for 16 of those years for the Alexandria Echo Press.