Luther students, Decorah residents say thanks to veterans at Veteran’s Day brunch

Photos+and+stories+of+Decorah+veterans+at+the+Veteran%E2%80%99s+day+event+at+Decorah+High+School.
Photos and stories of Decorah veterans at the Veteran’s day event at Decorah High School.

Photos and stories of Decorah veterans at the Veteran’s day event at Decorah High School.

Photo courtesy of Branna Elenz (‘17)

Photo courtesy of Branna Elenz (‘17)

Photos and stories of Decorah veterans at the Veteran’s day event at Decorah High School.

Luke Berkley, Staff Writer

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Local veterans were honored with a brunch held at Decorah High School on Nov. 11. Veterans were given letters written by Luther students during the annual event hosted by the Student Activities Council (SAC) Service Committee to commemorate Veteran’s Day.

According to SAC Service Committee Co-Chair Brooke Hilger (‘17), this event took several weeks to organize.

“This event has been going on for long enough that I am not sure how long this event has been at Luther,” Hilger said. “This year we started planning for this event about two weeks ago.”

According to SAC Service Committee co-chair Branna Elenz (‘17) this event happens in partnership with Decorah High School.

“This event has been going on for the last few years,” Elenz said. “This is my first year doing it. Decorah High started this event and this is their ‘thing’ that we contribute to. They set everything up and we just show up and hand out the letters.”

According to Elenz, students usually write the letters, but Luther staff also wrote letters for this event.

“SAC prints off the templates for the letters and then tables downstairs [in the Union] to get these letters,” Elenz said. “Anyone who walks by could write a letter. It is usually students that write, but it is open to anyone. It really helps to get people to do this when they hear that it is totally free. We even have markers at the table for people to write with.”

The majority of attendees of the Veteran’s Day brunch were veterans, their family members and the students who wrote and delivered letters.

“The people that attend the brunch and ceremony are those who have either served our country or are a relative of someone who was or is in the force,” Hilger said. “There were a lot of spouses present at the event supporting their partner.”

Brooke Hilger (‘17) shakes hands with a Decorah veteran.

Photo courtesy of Branna Elenz (‘17)
Brooke Hilger (‘17) shakes hands with a Decorah veteran.

Elenz said that the personal nature of the letters impact the veterans.

“We usually have a ton of letters to bring to them,” Elenz said. “This is a much more personal way to get in touch with people, whereas a service project is much more distant from those affected. Because this is a brunch held in their honor and because they physically receive letters, they take it very well. It has also happened that some students receive gratitude in return because of how impactful these letters are. It goes much deeper than the ‘thank you’ that is said when [the veterans] are handed these letters.”

Hilger echoed the sentiment that Decorah veterans enjoy the event and the love that they receive from Decorah residents.

“Doing this for the veterans means so much to them,” Hilger said. “It astonishes me how something that takes such a little amount of time and that is so easy to do can mean so much to someone. That is what we did and what everyone should do. They deserve our thanks and appreciation because they risked their lives for our freedom.”

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