Pamela Ramos’ idea is gathering momentum.
Ramos is married to a Vietnam veteran and is using his story in her Dodge City Middle School social studies class.
"I’ve been telling his story for 10 years," Ramos said in an afternoon interview earlier this week. "It’s been a valuable tool to get information out to my students."
After telling her husband’s story — a story of terror in a war, an unwelcome home and the nightmares that follow for years to come — the teacher asks her students to write letters to veterans.
"The goal used to be to give something back to the veterans, to tell them ‘thank you’ once a year," Ramos said. "But, over time, I’ve been given names of veterans, relatives and others, to receive a letter.
"Now, I want that to expand."
In the early days, most of the letters went to her husband.
"He still gets some," she said. "It means a lot to him. He knows many of the students because he’s a bus driver for USD 443."
Ramos has also sent some of the letters to Kansas Soldier’s Home at Fort Dodge. Now, she’d like to see some of her students begin a pen-pal relationship with some veterans.
"It’s one thing to tell the students about wars," she said. "But to hear from those who served in the wars, to listen to their first-hand accounts, would be a great thing.
"We lose so many veterans every year, I think it would be wonderful for these students to interact with veterans."
On Friday, students in her classes began writing their letters to veterans. Ramos told them in the class to include information in case the veteran who received their letter wanted to reply.
Ramos is also asking for more veterans to send letters to. If anyone is interested in adding a name to her list of letter recipients, she encourages contact through her email at RAMOS.PAMELA@usd443.org or by contacting her at Dodge City Middle School.
"These letters mean so much to my husband and others," Ramos said. "My husband never tells his story or looks for recognition.
"He lets me tell his story. I think all veterans deserve recognition and praise for what they’ve done and seen in serving this nation.
"Most veterans don’t want to brag, or show their medals, they are proud, humble men and I think all their stories should be told."
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