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Published 8:24 am Tuesday, November 14, 2017

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Veterans appreciation event

For 10 years now, grateful volunteers have been coordinating a special veterans appreciation event that coincides with Nov. 11, Veterans Day. For 10 years, hundreds of veterans have been packing out the National Guard armory, catching up with each other and remembering the times they spent in military service as they enjoy a free meal.

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Military veterans are among the most respected people in our community. Veterans Day is certainly not the only time we show them that respect, but it’s the only day specifically set aside for veterans. (Memorial Day is intended to honor people who died while in military service, while Armed Forces Day is for current members of the military.)

Veterans Day isn’t as flashy as some other holidays — fewer people get a paid day off to celebrate, there are no massive shopping rushes, no Christmas pageants, no Times Square balls dropping. But that’s entirely appropriate, because Veterans Day isn’t a day for you to have fun; it’s a day for you to give back to people who gave something to you. Free food and fellowship make a more thoughtful thank-you than fireworks or candy.

We’re glad the community has thanked the veterans of our region for 10 years, and we hope it continues strong for another 10.

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First responders thank-you lunch

Speaking of being thankful, we also liked seeing more than 150 first responders receive a free lunch last week, thanks to the efforts of more grateful community volunteers.

The Thursday lunch was for the people you think of when you think of “first responders” — law enforcement, fire and EMS personnel. But it was also for other “responders” who are also well-deserving of a heartfelt “thank you:” emergency management, social workers and employees in the Department of Juvenile Justice, to name a few.

As drug abuse continues to create problems, the thank-you lunch has been expanded to include these other responders because — like police, fire and EMS — they deal with the fallout and repercussions of drug abuse.

Much like military veterans, these responders of many different stripes are giving out of their own lives to try to make the world better for all of us. They definitely don’t do what do for a free lunch — many would do it whether or not they were recognized for their work.

Also like veterans, we could never thank them enough, but the lunch was a nice token of the community’s support for what they do.

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Pig organs make learning gross — and great

Learning about how a person’s organs work together to sustain life and seeing actual body parts isn’t just for advanced high schoolers or pre-medical students in labs. Last week, all fourth- and fifth-graders in the Danville Schools were given life lessons from the Kentucky Organ Donation Association (KODA).

The volunteers from KODA, as well as from Ephraim McDowell Regional Medical Center, presented the program “Life Is Cool,” which teaches students about their organs, body systems and the importance of living a health lifestyle by using real pig lungs, hearts, kidneys and livers.

Kids’ reactions ranged from “gross!” to “wow!” as they discovered new things about how the insides of their bodies work — and how the choices they make impact those inner workings. It’s one thing to see a drawing of a lung in a science textbook, but quite another to actually pump air into a lung, watch it expand and feel it “breathe.”

We love it any time educators make education so interesting and useful that kids can’t help but learn. Hopefully, these young students will remember the lessons learned and take care of their bodies by making wise lifestyle choices for the rest of their lives.