Veteran success Citrus County classroom volunteer speakers program asked to be national model

The success of the Veterans in the Classroom program in Citrus County has caught the attention of the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA).

After wrapping up another year of placing veteran speakers in classrooms with a luncheon on Feb. 10, Sponsor Coordinator Tim Holme received word Citrus is poised to be a model example for the program nationally.

“We were visited by the Military Officers Association National Headquarters. The director of the chapters and councils program was here on the 10th of November and visited us right when we were wrapping up our two weeks of veterans in the classroom. He got a real good look at what we do and he has asked us if we would be willing to work with other chapters around the country that are interested in starting such a program,” Holme said. “We said absolutely, we’ll be delighted to work with anybody.”

“Our Veterans in the Classroom program is so big they want to use Citrus County as a model for the rest of the county,” Veterans in the Classroom District Liaison Beth Bedee said. “We’re lucky the teachers are excited and want to have the veterans. We’re also lucky that we’ve got so many veterans. Citrus County has the second-highest veteran population of any county in Florida.”

This year, Bedee and Holme placed 67

Citrus-based veterans in over 230 classrooms during the two-week span before Veterans Day. The veterans introduce kindergarten through 12th-grade students to the basics of military life.

“We play matchmaker, getting a veteran to talk to a particular teacher’s classroom,” Holme said. “It is not a recruiting effort at all, but it is an effort to acquaint these youngsters with what it’s like in the military and who we are. It’s a lot of fun and I think very useful. It’s education.”

Teachers contact Bedee in September when they have a veteran request. Bedee then takes the requests to Holme, who finds the right veteran for the classroom.

“They go into classes from kindergarten through 12th grade,” Bede said. “Sometimes the teachers request lessons on folding the flag, sometimes music teachers request somebody that served in the military with a music background; I’ve heard of some higher level math and science courses wanting somebody that maybe served on a submarine or nuclear ship. It’s really up to the classroom teacher and the veteran.”

“Some teachers have favorites,” Holme said. “They ask for a particular veteran because they’ve had that veteran before and that’s been very successful.”

The veteran volunteers talk in multiple classrooms over the two-week course in November. Every February, the program wraps up with a luncheon at Withlacoochee Technical College.

“We invite the veterans who went into the classrooms to say thank you to them,” Holme said. The JROTC at Citrus presents the colors. The primary school comes with a chorus to sing some patriotic songs for us. It’s really very nice,” Holme said.

The vet coordinating duo anticipates further contact with MOAA and is excited to start the process of helping other areas with their veterans programs.

“We’re on the call list. We’re ready to do it when they come to us. We’re ready to help

people get started,” Holme said. “The key is to have someone like Beth Bedee.”The success of the Veterans in the Classroom program in Citrus County has caught the attention of the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA).

After wrapping up another year of placing veteran speakers in classrooms with a luncheon on Feb. 10, Sponsor Coordinator Tim Holme received word Citrus is poised to be a model example for the program nationally.

“We were visited by the Military Officers Association National Headquarters. The director of the chapters and councils program was here on the 10th of November and visited us right when we were wrapping up our two weeks of veterans in the classroom. He got a real good look at what we do and he has asked us if we would be willing to work with other chapters around the country that are interested in starting such a program,” Holme said. “We said absolutely, we’ll be delighted to work with anybody.”

“Our Veterans in the Classroom program is so big they want to use Citrus County as a model for the rest of the county,” Veterans in the Classroom District Liaison Beth Bedee said. “We’re lucky the teachers are excited and want to have the veterans. We’re also lucky that we’ve got so many veterans. Citrus County has the second-highest veteran population of any county in Florida.”

This year, Bedee and Holme placed 67

Citrus-based veterans in over 230 classrooms during the two-week span before Veterans Day. The veterans introduce kindergarten through 12th-grade students to the basics of military life.

“We play matchmaker, getting a veteran to talk to a particular teacher’s classroom,” Holme said. “It is not a recruiting effort at all, but it is an effort to acquaint these youngsters with what it’s like in the military and who we are. It’s a lot of fun and I think very useful. It’s education.”

Teachers contact Bedee in September when they have a veteran request. Bedee then takes the requests to Holme, who finds the right veteran for the classroom.

“They go into classes from kindergarten through 12th grade,” Bede said. “Sometimes the teachers request lessons on folding the flag, sometimes music teachers request somebody that served in the military with a music background; I’ve heard of some higher level math and science courses wanting somebody that maybe served on a submarine or nuclear ship. It’s really up to the classroom teacher and the veteran.”

“Some teachers have favorites,” Holme said. “They ask for a particular veteran because they’ve had that veteran before and that’s been very successful.”

The veteran volunteers talk in multiple classrooms over the two-week course in November. Every February, the program wraps up with a luncheon at Withlacoochee Technical College.

“We invite the veterans who went into the classrooms to say thank you to them,” Holme said. The JROTC at Citrus presents the colors. The primary school comes with a chorus to sing some patriotic songs for us. It’s really very nice,” Holme said.

The vet coordinating duo anticipates further contact with MOAA and is excited to start the process of helping other areas with their veterans programs.

“We’re on the call list. We’re ready to do it when they come to us. We’re ready to help

people get started,” Holme said. “The key is to have someone like Beth Bedee.”

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