School Helps Honor Veterans

Madeleine Johnson

More stories from Madeleine Johnson


Hugh McMillan

PSHF sends local veterans to the Washington DC memorials

This November, students of Peninsula High School will have the opportunity to honor two veterans by sending them on a once in a lifetime adventure.

During the week of November 9-13, Peninsula High School’s Distributive Education Club of America (DECA) will be putting on a Coin Drive to raise money for Honor Flight, an organization that has helped send over 150,000 vets to the Washington DC memorials. Members of DECA, juniors Talia Bickert and Mackenzie Walch, are the leaders of this project. They are motivated and focused on raising enough money to sponsor two veterans for Puget Sound Honor Flight. PSHF is Gig Harbor’s local branch of the organization.

“We obviously want to raise enough money to send two vets to DC, hopefully $1800,” said Walch.

To help achieve this goal, Bickert and Walch (with help from the Peninsula Leadership class) have set up several ways for students to donate coins.

“At lunch we’re going to go around with jars. You can also turn them in in classes,” said Bickert.

We want to raise enough money to send two vets to DC, hopefully $1800.”

— Mackenzie Walch

A Miracle Minute at the Veterans Day Assembly will also be scheduled for the same week. During this minute, jars will be distributed among students sitting in the bleachers, allowing anyone with coins to directly contribute.

This program has already helped local citizens including Hugh McMillan. McMillan is a Gig Harbor resident, a much loved supporter of local schools, a Gateway writer, and a veteran. Last June, the people of Gig Harbor and Puget Sound Honor Flight came together to sponsor McMillan on a trip to the WWII memorials located in our nation’s capital.

“What a humbling, rewarding, heartrending experience,” McMillan said of his trip.  

McMillan loved the experience and felt that it was a beautiful and accommodating way to honor and respect veterans for their service and sacrifice.

What a humbling, rewarding, heartrending experience.”

— Hugh McMillan

“It would take more column inches to tell this story than a dozen issues of the Gateway could provide. We crowded three weeks worth into three days,” McMillan said about his experience.

Honor Flight is devoted to sending every veteran capable of traveling to DC to see the memorials dedicated to them. The organization specifically aims to sponsor WWII veterans, so the operation is extremely time sensitive.


“WWII veterans are dying at the rate of about 640 a day; time is short.” said Honor Flight chairman, Jim McLaughlin.

Now, Peninsula High School has the opportunity to seize the moment and help honor these outstanding men for their service. Students are encouraged to bring any amount; every little donation will help.

“Bring coins,” said Bickert. “Save them up now.”