PLATTSBURGH - Each year, Kimberly Bouissey's fifth grade class at Momot Elementary School presents wreaths to veterans during the holidays. However, this recent holiday season had special meaning.
In addition to connecting with veterans through the Robert A. Lafountain Post 179 chapter of Disabled American Veterans, Bouissey's class had a chance to meet with her son, Christopher Hart, a Green Beret with the U.S. Army. Hart joined his mother in presenting wreaths donated by Pray's Farm Market and decorated by students in what was a special ceremony.
"I have been doing this since I started teaching ... it's going on 11 years now," Bouissey said of presenting wreaths to veterans. "And, my veterans are very special to me. But, when my son came to [the ceremony], it made me so happy."
Having the opportunity for her son to meet the veterans she has become good friends with over the years was particularly special, said Bouissey.
"For me, this was the most warm and fuzzy time we've ever done this," she said. "During Christopher's first deployment, all the veterans I've developed friendships with through school would stop by my house and just fix my flag or stop and give me a hug and support. They'd tell me he's going to be all right and if I needed anything to let them know."
"It was hard, but with the support of the veterans I got through it," she said.
Bouissey said her son was glad to meet the group of veterans to thank them for all they've done and continue to do.
"I think it made him happy to meet all of them and to see what his mom does for them, too," said Bouissey.
Why does Bouissey feel it's important to recognize veterans? If you ask her, she'll tell you.
"When we first started doing this, I realized some of my fifth-graders didn't even know what it meant to be a veteran," said Bouissey. "And, since we've been doing this, they've learned so much about them. My true love for the veterans continues to grow, too. I always say, if I ever win the lottery, I'd want to give back to them, even though I don't think we could ever give back to them enough."