TCPS hosts vet­er­ans lun­cheon

Sunday Star - - FRONT PAGE - By CON­NIE CON­NOLLY cconnolly@ches­pub.com Fol­low me on Twit­ter @con­nie_s­tar­dem.

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.”

PHOTO BY CON­NIE CON­NOLLY

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.

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