HERSHEY, Pa. (WHTM) — The Milton Hershey School welcomed back several graduates for a “Veterans Day Homecoming.”
The veterans shared their experiences, stories, and even military gear with students.
“We have eight veterans and current military personnel talking to our kiddos,” said Dr. Jamie Noerpel.
Students had the opportunity to speak with the veterans and service members who used to be Milton Hershey students too. Students even got to try on some military gear.
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“There is a level of appreciation, I think, that is necessary that when you think about people that have served and given back and so when you have someone in front of you that is talking about their hardships, but also their wins, it hits home a lot more for our kids,” added Dr. Noerpel.
One veteran reflected on her past, visiting a place close to her heart.
“This place is incredibly special to me Milton Hershey School is where I did a lot of growing up. I had the opportunity to be a beneficiary of Mr. and Mrs. Hershey, and if it were not for them I wouldn’t be where I am at today. Serving in the Pentagon and really having the opportunity to make a difference in our nation,” said Captain Kimberly Elenberg.
Elenberg started out as an Army nurse, and then transitioned to the United States Public Health Service.
“Having a strong military certainly deters war, nation building, humanitarian assistance, as well as defending the nation is something a lot of the students are not aware of. And I think it is a really important thing for them to be aware of,” Captain Elenberg added.
It was clear that the veterans’ visit had an impact on the students.
“My uncle was a veteran before he died and I didn’t really get to try his uniform on and talk to him about these certain things, so hearing these peoples stories it kind of reflects that a bit,” said Armani Ramos, a freshman at Milton Hershey.
Hannah Lydia Kamscuh, another freshman at Milton Hershey, said there are certain aspects of serving that stand out to her. “I do appreciate today, and one thing that sticks out to me is the dedication. There are people who voluntarily gave up everything they knew to defend someone like me. They don’t even know me, they just chose to. That really says something to me.”
Nearly 1,000 Milton Hershey students served in World War II.