Junior titleholder pays tribute to hospitalized veterans
Special to Leader-Press
School students throughout Copperas Cove ISD are showing their appreciation to hospitalized veterans with construction paper, glue, glitter and a lot of red and pink hearts. With more than 500 valentines collected, Junior Mister Five Hills Trace Hensley is heading up the community service project to distribute the mass of homemade creations just in time for Valentine’s Day to veterans at the Olin E. Teague Veterans Hospital and the Central Texas Veterans Nursing Home both in Temple.
Trace’s mother, Lori Hensley, said Trace is very excited to be able to deliver valentines to veterans.
“Trace’s dad is a disabled veteran who spends a lot of time at the Temple VA hospital for appointments,” Hensley said. “Before Trace was in school, he would attend appointments with his dad and he made a lot of friends with the ‘regulars’ there.”
The Veterans Health Administration is the largest integrated health care system in the United States, providing care at 1,243 health care facilities, including 170 VA Medical Centers and 1,063 outpatient clinics, serving more than 9 million enrolled Veterans each year.
National Hospitalized Veterans Week is Feb. 7-12. The kindergarten student at Williams/Ledger Elementary School has called on his fellow students to do their part in honoring our nation’s heroes on the day of love. Leadership groups such as the Copperas Cove Five Hills Royalty, Martin Walker Elementary special education students, Williams/Ledger Elementary, House Creek Elementary Student2Student group, and others have made cards that Trace will deliver.
“I remember going with my dad a lot of times when I was really little and everyone was nice to me even though they might be hurt or sick. Sometimes they would tell me jokes or make silly faces at me,” Trace said. “I want them to smile and have a good Valentine’s Day! They are heroes because they protected our country. I hope the cards make them happy and that they know a lot of kids care about them.”
Trace selected Valentines for Veterans as his service project through the Miss Five Hills Scholarship Pageant. The Five Hills royalty have headed up the service project for the last seven years since the pageant’s inception. Trace will crown the new Junior Mister Five Hills on March 27 at the Copperas Cove Civic Center. The deadline to enter the annual contest is March 1 at http://www.copperascovetx.gov/parks/five_hills_pageant/.