Project 425 at G&M Ranch in Loxahatchee Groves hosted the Charity Home School Group of kindergarten through college students on Friday, May 17 for a day of education on the Vietnam War, told by veterans who served there in many different capacities. Veterans of three wars attended, from World War II, Korea and Vietnam.
After opening remarks by Martha Webster and the Pledge of Allegiance, Father Mike Vecchio, former chaplain at the VA Hospital in Pittsburgh, spoke and closed with a prayer. Then the students gathered by the Huey helicopter and “Boxcar” Bill Jeczalik presented the history of aircraft and answered many questions.
The students then watched the movie The Last Ride. After lunch of sandwich platters, fried chicken, potato salad, chips and drinks, Curt Rich and Ray Branch made presentations on the M38A1 (Jeep) and M35A2 (Deuce and a half). Chief John Hiscock then talked about the Maidstone Fire Department and old Fire Engine No. 5. Singer Chris Noel shared a video about her experiences with the Armed Forces Network in Vietnam, answered questions and sang one of her songs.
Next was a video about Bill Arcuri’s release from the “Hanoi Hilton” prisoner of war camp. Arcuri also answered questions about his experience as a POW. The day closed with a presentation of certificates to each of the students and a photo session out by the Huey for the students and parents.
ABOVE: Mike Carroll, Major General Jackson, Chris Noel, Bill Jeczalik, Bill Arcuri, Curt Rich, Ray Branch and Chief John Hiscock.