SCOTCH PLAINS/FANWOOD, NJ -- Terrill Middle School welcomed local veterans, who came in to tell their stories of military service to seventh graders at the school. The event is part of Judy Lasher's service-learning curriculum. 

The visiting veterans were:

  • Dr. Charles Argila (Army commander of a M*A*S*H* unit),
  • John Boyle (Army),
  • Gary Edwards (Army),
  • Oshanda Erb (Air Force),
  • Al Gomez (Army), 
  • Robert Jeans (Army),
  • Joe McCourt (Army), and
  • Christopher Soldano (Marines).

"As I look back now, it is a great honor to serve," said Joe McCourt, a Vietnam veteran. 

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"We are a community; we don't see color, we see green. I think it's the way the world should be," said Oshanda Erb joined the air force in 1998 at age 17 and is an aircraft mechanic. "Every time you see a vet, please say, 'Thank you'."

Christopher Soldano, a Marine, enlisted in 2009 and served in Afghanistan, Dubai, Israel, Spain and Africa. Today, he is a police officer in Newark and said his military service translated well to a career in law enforcement.

Several of the participants had family connections with current seventh grade students at the school.

The event featured music by the Terrill Middle School Band conducted by John Gillick and a Q&A session during which students could ask the vets about their time in the military. 

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