TURBOTVILLE — A 20-year veteran of the armed services urged Warrior Run Middle School students on Thursday to concentrate on their studies.

Thomas Greeney, of Mifflinburg, was the keynote speaker during the school’s annual Veterans Day assembly. His granddaughter, Kayleann Rodgers, is in seventh grade at Warrior Run.

Greeney told the students his time in the service spanned 20 years, from 1967 through 1987. He served in the U.S. Army, Army National Guard and Air Force National Guard.

It was his family’s strong ties to the service which inspired Greeney to enlist. His father William, along with several uncles and cousins, were veterans.

“Serving your country is an honorable thing to do,” Greeney said. “We keep seemingly getting more and more veterans, which is a good thing for us.”

Greeney was able to tour various parts of the world as a result of his service.

“I got to see German castles, German beer festivals,” he said. “In France, I went to Versailles. I went to the top of the Eiffel Tower. I went to the Notre Dame cathedral.”

During his time in service, Greeney told the students he was lucky as he was never in a situation where he was shot at or had to shoot at anyone.

“There are many, many people who are shot at and killed,” he said. “That’s why we honor veterans.”

Part of his time in the service was spent with the Army National Guard and Army Finance Corps.

“I pushed a pen and pencil while many others were serving and dying,” Greeney said. “God bless them.”

In addition to honoring those who have fallen in service to their country, Greeney also offered words of encouragement to the students.

“Put your mind to everything you work at in school and everything will pay off,” he said.

Among the components of the program, Rodgers and fellow student Haylee Mordan read a poem, “Thank You” by Colleen Davington. The poem offered thanks to veterans for their service.

Don Ale, commander of Turbotville VFW Post 8206 announced the winners of the VFW’s Patriot’s Pen Essay Competition. The theme was “What Makes America Great.”

“This is, I believe, the 14th year we’ve done this,” Ale said. “The winners are forwarded to the district competition.”

The winner of the competition among sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade students at Warrior Run was Lillian Wert. Madeline Deitterick finished second and Isabella Shupp third.

The program included the presenting of the colors by the VFW color guard, patriotic music by the seventh- and eighth-grade band, as well as videos focusing on the history of Veterans Day and honoring veterans.

Staff writer Kevin Mertz can be reached at 570-742-9671 or email kevin@standard-journal.com.

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