This is the fifth event in four years and includes veterans and local high school students. Through Sunday, the group will visit the Vietnam Veterans, Lincoln, Korean War and American Veterans Disabled for Life memorials in Washington. One of the lunches will be at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center.
“There are 31 total vets,” said Norwalk resident and U.S. Navy veteran Thom Price. “We have one World War II vet, two Korean War vets, four (from the) Cold War and the rest are Vietnam vets.”
The three-day trip allows veterans to share their stories of service with teenagers.
“As we get on the bus, I tell them we leave as acquaintances, but we’ll come back as family,” said Price, who was named the Huron County veteran of the year in December.
There are five students from Norwalk High School going this year: Braden Lloyd, Lochlyn Ramsey, Chanse Raymond, Olivia Schaffer and Cadence Scott. St. Paul students Jackson Cook, Jarret Schaffer and Raquel Taggert also will be on the trip.
NHS science teacher Nate Whaley and St. Paul theology teacher Christine Galati selected the students from their respective schools.
Students from New London High School participated in last year’s trip.
Price organized this year’s Huron County Honor Trip with his wife Kim, retired Norwalk firefighter Jamie Starcher, Bill Fey and Whaley. Fey and Starcher served in the U.S. Army. Whaley was on active duty for the Army for four years and served in the Army Reserves for an additional year.
In addition to visiting the memorials, the veterans and students will lay wreaths at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
When asked what site seems to have the biggest impact on the veterans, Price had a quick answer — the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
“A lot of the guys — especially those who served on land — didn’t get the welcome we did,” he said, noting seeing the wall helps many of the vets get some sense of closure.
“They are able to come to terms with their service and see their comrades,” Price said.