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Loper Elementary honors veterans with special program

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Doug Brown, a physical education assistant at Loper Elementary School and retired Army sergeant, addressed the student body Friday morning during a Veterans Day program.
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Loper Elementary School third graders wave American flags while singing “You’re a Grand Old Flag” Friday morning during a Veterans Day program at the Shelbyville school.

By JEFF BROWN - jbrown@shelbynews.com

With small American flags waving high in the air, Loper Elementary School third-graders sang, “You’re a Grand Old Flag” Friday morning during a Veterans Day program.

The song was one of five performed by the students for the student body and guests. The third graders performed the same program Thursday night for parents, friends and families.

Scouts from local pack 223 presented the colors and led the packed gymnasium in saying, “The Pledge of Allegiance.”

After the entertainment portion of the program concluded, principal Adam Harpring introduced the guest speaker for the program, Loper physical education assistant Doug Brown, who is a veteran of combat tours in three separate campaigns.

Brown, a 2005 Shelbyville High School graduate, talked about walking into an Army recruiting station and asking what the military had to offer him. The recruiter discussed good work, good pay and the opportunity to travel. Brown was sold.

That led to a 10-plus-year career in the Army. Friday morning’s program came one year to the date he retired from service.

Brown explained what he did in the military and where he has been before taking pre-selected questions from Harpring and the student body. He was able to explain the military vehicles he used and rode on, the weapons he carried and the living conditions for a soldier in foreign countries – some similar to home, others not quite as hospitable.

When asked if he had ever been hurt while in service, Brown shared the story of Sept. 20, 2017, his birthday, in which a rocket hit the vehicle he was driving. He sustained his sixth concussion from the blast.

Brown also was asked if he had a service or therapy dog. His response was, “No,” because he was active and healthy. His therapy, in his own words were, “you kids help me.”

Before the program concluded, the Loper students filmed a quick message of support for Loper teacher Greg Turner, who is currently stationed in Kuwait. The entire student body and staff said hello and expressed their love in a message that will be sent overseas.