Brentwood students learn first-hand about veterans' sacrifices

| Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012, 8:55 p.m.

Brentwood Middle School sixth-graders recently learned about the sacrifices that men and women have made for their country.

Family members, teachers and local leaders who also are veterans of the armed forces spoke to the students on Friday to share stories about their experiences and the importance of honoring their past to coincide with Veterans Day on Nov. 11, a federal holiday recognizing those who have served.

Middle school reading and social studies teacher Casey Phillips started a program about five years ago where veterans visit Brentwood classes and share their stories with the sixth-grade students, he said.

“They were a very captive audience and had some great questions for our veterans,” Phillips said. “I also think they gained an appreciation for why we celebrate Veterans Day and why it is important to honor the selfless acts that our veterans have given the country throughout the years.”

This year's speakers included Brentwood Middle/High School librarian Megan Casey, a member of the U.S. Coast Guard; Phillips' father-in-law David Reese, who served in the U.S. Army from 1965 to 1969; Brentwood parent Tyrone Washington, who served in the U.S. Army from 1987 to 2007 and Brentwood Borough police Officer Matthew DeLallo, a member of the Marine Corps.

Phillips father, who died in April, was a Vietnam War veteran who was awarded the Purple Heart after being wounded while serving.

“As I got older, I began to appreciate more and more not only what my dad went through but the sacrifices in general that all of our vets give us to make our country so great,” Phillips said. “I also thought it was my duty as an educator to expose my students to some of the experiences of vets in our communities.”

Several students at Brentwood have relatives serving in the armed forces, Phillips said.

Stephanie Hacke is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5818 or

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