MHS Serves The Soldiers
Friday, November 10th Sean Steinkellner, a social studies teacher at Mishawaka High School (MHS), took a few student to the Mishawaka food pantry to help out with the Veteran’s Day event.
Photo Credit: Elizabeth Buchmann
This is the first year that Steinkellner has collaborated with the Mishawaka Food Pantry. “I was hoping it would help to build relationships between our students and our community,” said Steinkellner. “I also hoped it would inspire students to push themselves to fight for what they believe like the veterans have done,” Steinkellner continued, “These are good kids that respect those who have made their lives possible. I hope the students enjoyed it, I also hope that the veterans
appreciated the event.”
The students had the opportunity to interact with people of the Mishawaka/South Bend community. Students heard stories like Ron Kempt’s and were encouraged to talk to the veterans around them. “I left with a better appreciation for veterans along with the opportunity to serve those who have served us wholeheartedly,” said Breanna Rajski, a senior at MHS, “I enjoyed the project more than I could explain, it was a great experience and I’m glad I was apart of it.”
MHS Senior Sydney Kempt was excited to listen to stories that the veterans told her. Kempt said, “The event was absolutely amazing, it was a huge eye opener... I got to learn what they went through and I became more appreciative for my freedom.” Ashley Russo, another MHS senior, had similar feelings toward the experience. “It was a good experience to serve the veterans for once. It was a nice change of pace,” said Russo.
Ron Kempt was a sergeant for Marine Corps. He was drafted from chicago in the 1960’s. “I knew my physical was going to be passed through, so I volunteered right on the spot, so I had some choice in the matter,” said Ron Kempt. “I never thought that I wanted to sign up, but I don’t regret that I did, I was 23 when I was recruited and 29 when I was discharged. I never made it across seas, but I still did my part and that I won’t apologise for,” concluded Ron Kempt.
In 1971, Jimmie Force joined the Navy through the buddy system with his cousin. “I was a 3rd class petty officer,” said Force. “I was a medic on a ship and I sewed a lot of people up and unfortunately I couldn’t save them all,” said Force. “I spent most of my time on a navy ship, but I don’t like ships, I get seasick,” Force laughed. “The guys there were like family, if one of us went down we all did,” said Force.
Although Force does not regret his decision, he has advice for future generations. “ Enlisting is not fun and games, make sure it’s something you really want to do, there’s no going back,” said Force.
Thomas Hayes graduated from MHS in 1945. He was drafted later that year. “I remember the day I went home. It was cold and rainy. All of my classmates were waiting for the bus with me,” said Hayes, “I wasn’t scared or nervous, because everyone else was going; that was where I belonged, the place to be.”
Mishawaka Food Pantry is located on 315 Lincolnway W, Mishawaka, IN 46544. According to mishawakafoodpantry.org, the food pantry provides individuals with food, clothing, hot lunches, family development, toiletries, transportation solutions, and most importatly, a sense a community. According to The Mishawaka Food Pantry Code of Ethics, “The Mishawaka Food Pantry is dedicated to the public good. Its board, staff, and volunteers embrace fairness, inclusiveness, diversity, innovation, integrity, and work to advance Mishawaka Food Pantry’s mission and core value.” A client must bring a piece of mail a current I.D to access the pantry. Hot lunches are served on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, and are open to anyone in need.