Adam Dickie with Erin Shaw’s ninth grade class, which organized the Veterans Day event. Photos by Jessica Steeley
BY JESSICA STEELEY
Clarkston News Staff Writer
For ninth grader Sierra Bonser, honoring Veterans Day is personal – her father served in the U.S. Air Force when she was growing up.
“It gave me a personal connection to what all these people are going through,” said the Clarkston Junior High School student. “I understand what it’s like to walk on base and feel safe behind all the wires and all the protection and knowing that you’re with all of these strong people, and you see them go away and you don’t see them for a long time, and that’s really heartbreaking.”
She and her classmates honored veterans, and Clarkston alumni Adam Dickie in particular, with a decorative stone in the Jenna Beno Memorial Courtyard, Nov. 10. The stone, engraved with Dickie’s name and unit decorations, now sits in the rock garden of the courtyard, named after Beno, a Clarkston veteran who passed away in 2012.
“This whole day was incredible, not only for me, but for my family, it’s an honor to be here, to be given this opportunity and that stone by the classmates, words can’t describe. I was actually getting into tears a little bit,” Dickie said.
He served in the Marine Corp for four years and was deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan from 2009-2011. After his time in the service, he earned his Bachelor’s degree from Ferris State and now works as a police officer in Grand Blanc Township. Bonser and a few classmates spoke about their feelings and experiences with veterans and Veterans Day in the school’s auditorium before the stone’s presentation.
“It’s been kind of hectic, but we pulled it together and set up all of this reception and had students do the speeches,” said ninth grader Caitlyn Pittman.
It was an honor to recognize a veteran and a privilege to have Dickie come to their school, Pittman said.
“There were a lot of people really dedicated to this, so it was really nice, it really came together,” she said.
Bonser, whose father still serves as a lieutenant colonel in the Air Force Reserves, said being able to honor a veteran will be a memorable moment for her and an experience she can take with her from junior high to high school.
“It was really important to honor a veteran, because they really don’t get enough, and I think it’s important to take time out of our day to just represent them for an hour, just understand what they’re going through and respect what they’re saying and doing for everyone else and for our protection as a country,” she said.
The event was put on by one of Erin Shaw’s ninth grade classes. Dickie also had Shaw as a teacher when he was attending Clarkston schools and he was glad to come back to help out one of her classes.
He first decided to become a Marine because of the events of Sept. 11, 2001.
“I was in eighth grade, in class actually, when the World Trade Center towers had fallen, so ever since then as a young kid I wanted to join the Marine Corp and go overseas and fight for what was right,” Dickie said. “Ever since the towers fell, I wanted to go over there and be a part of getting back at the evil that hit us on that day with the two terror attacks.”