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Heritage hears Wounded Warrior’s story

James Clemens High School Color Guard opened the veterans' program at Heritage Elementary School. CONTRIBUTED
James Clemens High School Color Guard opened the veterans’ program at Heritage Elementary School. CONTRIBUTED
MADISON – On Nov. 7, Heritage Elementary School held the first of several programs that Madison schools will conduct during the week leading to Veterans Day on Nov. 11.
Heritage hosted a breakfast and special program for military veterans. More than 40 veterans responded to the Heritage youngsters’ invitation to join them for a breakfast from 7:30 to 7:55 a.m.
Heritage students lined the hallways and waved U.S. flags for the ‘heroes walk’ as veterans marched to the cafeteria. Veterans often took time to reach down for handshakes with the boys and girls.
James Clemens High School Color Guard delivered the Presentation of Colors. Then mayor Troy Trulock welcomed the audience.
Wounded Warrior Brandon Johnson was featured speaker. Born in Huntsville, Johnson graduated from high school in Round Rock, Texas in 2003. Fourteen days later, he entered boot camp at Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego, Calif.
Johnson completed Marine Combat Training at Camp Pendleton in Oceanside, Calif. He then worked in recruiter assistance for three weeks. Next, he completed Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting training at Goodfellow Air Force Base in San Angelo, Texas.
“I was assigned to Marine Wing Support Squadron 373 at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego,” Johnson said. “I deployed to Iraq in August 2004 and was wounded by an IED (improvised explosive device) in January 2005 outside of Fallujah.”
Johnson was flown directly to Landstuhl, an Army Medical Base in Landstuhl, Germany. “I was finally able to come back to the states in February 2005. I finished recovering at Balboa Navy Medical Center in San Diego,” he said.
Johnson officially retired in 2007 and has made the Huntsville area his home.
“Approximately one in four students in Madison City Schools is military connected,” Public Relations Manager John Peck said.
“The school district is keenly aware of the stresses that can have on families. Veterans Day week routinely is (when) schools plan activities to show thanks to veterans and to assure them we understand the sacrifices their families make on our behalf,” Peck said.

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