TCPS hosts veterans luncheon
Sharing a kind of camaraderie only veterans can know, six faculty members and support staff of Talbot County Public Schools who served in the military enjoyed a luncheon at Easton High School on Thursday, Nov. 9.
— Sharing a kind of camaraderie only veterans can know, six faculty members and support staff of Talbot County Public Schools who served in the military enjoyed a luncheon at Easton High School on Thursday, Nov. 9.
They represented 108 years of military service in the U.S. Army, Navy and Coast Guard.
“I think it’s a great show of unity among the military branches,” Michael Moaney said. The Navy veteran served eight years, achieving the rank of E-5 petty officer.
A 1990 graduate of EHS, Moaney served in the Iraq War and now helps provide security and serves as head football coach for his alma mater.
EHS Principal Kirk Howie was the host of the gathering in the Culinary Arts Garden Bowl Room. The luncheon was donated in part by Applebee’s of Easton.
“We reached out to Applebee’s, and they loved the idea,” Howie said. “They’ve been extremely supportive.”
Students in the culinary arts program supplied desserts, beverages and fresh floral arrangements.
EHS English teacher Annie Mewborn also was a luncheon guest. She is a war veteran, having served as an ammunitions specialist in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm in the Persian Gulf wars.
Mewborn, who received her honorable discharge as a sergeant (E-5), joked that her students “don’t mess with” her. She was the 20162017 TCPS Teacher of the Year.
Mewborn was the keynote speaker for the NJROTC’s 2017 Veterans Day school assemblies at North Caroline and Colonel Richardson high schools, James Gardner said.
Gardner, a 20-year Navy veteran, is one of two naval science teachers in the fourschool NJROTC program based at EHS. He served as an operations specialist aboard three different ships during Operations Desert Shield, Desert Storm and Enduring Freedom.
Gardner’s son Jeremiah, a junior at EHS and an NJROTC cadet, is hoping to pursue a career in the military, as well, and is planning to apply for an appointment to the Naval Academy or the Merchant Marine Academy.
Gardner’s NJROTC colleague is senior naval science instructor Lt. Cmdr. Jon Hammond. The retired officer served as a helicopter pilot with the U.S. Coast Guard for 21 years.
Easton Middle School music teacher C.J. Freeman ser ved six years in the Army National Guard. As an Army band musician, she played the euphonium and “just got out” of the Guard, having earned the rank of sergeant (E-5).
Easton High School social studies teacher Jeff Payne also served in the Army.
“I served from 1983 to 1986 as a medic, and I never saw the inside of a hospital,” he said.
A teacher for 25 years in Talbot County schools, Payne was “straight-leg infantry” in Germany, guarding Pershing II missile sites. He came back to Fort Lewis in Washington state, where “they stuck me with field artillery,” he said. He achieved the rank of E-4 specialist 4th class.
White Marsh Elementary School physical education teacher Jeff Eutsler is a major in the Army Reserves unit based in Upper Marlboro.
Eutsler served three tours of duty in war zones — two in Iraq and one in Afghanistan.
“I would have volunteered for more,” he said, but his children objected. He was on active duty for eight years and has served 29 years altogether.
June Marek is a guidance secretary at EHS and served in the Navy for 13 years. She achieved the rank of petty officer 1st class and served in the 1989-1990 U.S. invasion of Panama, Operation Just Cause.
“It’s great just to be able to get together, tell stories and joke with each other,” Gardner said. “We have a camaraderie that many people don’t get to have. It keeps us together and keeps us moving.”
Talbot County Public Schools faculty and support staff share stories of their military service over lunch on Thursday, Nov. 9, at Easton High School. Clockwise, from left: Michael Moaney, Jeff Eutsler, Annie Mewborn, Jeff Payne, June Marek, C.J. Freeman, James Gardner and Jon Hammond.