FORT WAYNE, Indiana (WANE) – Kasey Carr, Administrative Assistant at Irwin Elementary School, will be the first to tell you that her favorite time of year isn’t summer vacation, but Veterans Day .

Carr is an Air Force veteran herself, having served in Iraq for 6.5 months. She worked in information management doing paperwork, logging and data. Upon arrival in Iraq, she received an Army Medal of Honor.

“When I got there the security had been compromised, so all the computers on the base that we had to reformat, we worked for about two weeks in a row, 14 hours a day to get everything back up and running,” he said. she declared.

Credit: Kasey Carr

For the past 8 years at Irwin, Carr has hosted the school’s annual Veterans Day program. It has grown steadily since she took over the management for the first year.

“I know what they’re going through, which is why I try to give them everything I think they deserve,” Carr said.

About ten veterans participated in the first program she led. By 2019, that number had grown to 35. Most veterans are directly and closely related to Irwin’s staff and students.

Carr works on the program year round. She arranges for JC Penny’s staff to give veterans free hairstyles and makeovers before the program, and breakfast is provided for free. The program itself features veteran speakers and performances, and members of the reserve base typically attend the event and flaunt the colors. Carr also organizes raffle prizes and gift bags for each Veteran in attendance.

Credit: Brandy Herriman

“I just want them to know how much we appreciate them, how much we appreciate them,” Carr said. “I want them to take home a little token of appreciation that day.” I know we can’t give them all they are worth but I hope they see the effort that we are trying to show them that we are more than grateful for everything you have done for us, for the country, your families, we value everything.

With young students also participating in the program, Carr says it’s a good learning opportunity for them to better understand who veterans are and the sacrifices they make.

“The army does not consist only in fighting, in waging war, it is people who care a lot about this country, who would give their lives for this country because they love this country so much”, he said. she declared. “Like when I served, I took this chance. It’s like I know I have a family, but if I had to give up my today for someone else’s tomorrow, I was ready to do it.

Kasey Carr takes pride in her own service and proud to showcase veterans in her own way, every year.

Credit: Kasey Carr

“[Veterans] are lovely. Veterans come in all different sizes, colors, backgrounds, but at the end of the day we have the same heart, the same purpose and that was to protect and serve.

Carr says the community has also helped make the program what it is today. Local restaurants and businesses, including Sweetwater, TinCaps, and DeBrand Fine Chocolates, donate gift cards and other items that fill gift bags or serve as raffle prizes. In 2019, she was able to secure a weekend in Chicago, including a hotel stay and tickets to the Shedd Aquarium.

“We’re so grateful because not only can we get each one individually gift bags full of stuff, but I can give everyone a ticket when they arrive and it’s like the highlight of the program where I can $ 250 draw at Target, $ 100 to Kroger, dinner and movie night, “Carr said.” It warms my heart because I’m able to give back to those who were willing to risk it all for our country. It’s the least I can do, I wish I could do more, that’s why I’m hoping someone will see this and say ‘Oh, how can we help?’ “

If any businesses or restaurants wish to donate to the program, they can call Irwin Elementary School at 260-467-5310 and ask for Kasey Carr.


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