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Military-Bound Students to Be Honored

White River Junction — Patricia Howardell, the widow of an Army veteran, says it’s about time to honor Vermont high school students who are enlisting in the military.

“It’s never been done, ever,” the Woodstock resident said. “I find that so hard to believe that no one has recognized them.”

Howardell is organizing a ceremony for the graduating seniors and their families on May 18, Armed Forces Day, at 3 p.m. at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in White River Junction.

“I wanted to honor these young men and women who have decided to serve our country and introduce them to their health care system, the VA … and their supporting military organizations,” she said. “I wanted to welcome them into their military family.”

Howardell said she has contacted every school in the state and is also working with military recruiters to spread the word to students.

Military service members, several Vermont lawmakers and various veterans organizations have also been invited.

So far the event, still in the planning stages, will include certificates for the enlistees and a performance by the state bugler.

Last year, more than 70 students in the state joined the military, Howardell said.

She was uncertain last week how many students would attend.

With spring sports ongoing and proms coming up, it’s a busy season, she said.

“If we get 30 or 40 kids, we’re doing really good.”

But at least one will be there, she said. Her son , a senior at Woodstock Union High School, will enter the Navy this summer.

For more information, call Howardell at 802-280-5879.

— Aimee Caruso