Over 100 students from El Reno High School gathered to bring cheer to the Oklahoma City Veterans Affairs Hospital Tuesday.
It’s all part of the district’s “Gift’s To The Yank’s” program, delivering gifts and singing Christmas carols.
“It’s an opportunity for them to come over here and see maybe some guys and gals that Christmas might not have the same meaning as for them,” said Pat Liticker, principal at El Reno High School.
The “Gift’s To The Yank’s” program is in its 73rd year. Over $15,000 was raised to help purchase gifts for veterans.
“I got to give one man a present. And I handed him the present, and his eyes just lit up with joy,” said El Reno High Senior Katie Shey. “It kind of made me tear up, because it makes me happy to be able to give someone that gift that will be unforgettable to them.”
Lashawn Zapien's father received a gift and handmade card from students. Let's just say for her, it was totally unexpected.
“He is a good All American, just did amazing things and is an amazing guy,” said Zapien. “He just was really excited to see them come in and bring him a nice gift and card.”
School officials say it's the only program of its kind still going in the state. A program with a lesson bigger than a text book.
“The most important thing we do is teaching them how to be productive citizens,” said Liticker. “How to serve other people, how to take care of people who maybe need a little help, who are a little down on their luck and just need somebody to come along side of them.”
Organizers say they plan to keep this tradition going and hope other schools get involved.