Port Allegany Elementary School students Jackson Smith, Marley Smith and Alyssa Tanner pose with their favorite veterans: Master Sgt. David Tanner, who served in the Marines for four years and then in the Air Force for 27 years, and Tony Tanner, who was a technical sergeant in the 107th Air Refueling Wing from 1994-2014. He had numerous overseas deployments including France, Turkey, Kuwait and Guam.

PORT ALLEGANY — As they have for many years, Port Allegany Elementary School honored local veterans Monday at the school.

Major Vincent Berrettini, U.S. Air Force, and Sergeant 1st Class Steve Appleby, U.S. Army, were guest speakers along with Musician 2nd Class J. T. Madison, who provided the opening and closing prayer for the outdoor ceremony. The Honor Guard also participated under the direction of Joe Knell.

As the celebration moved inside, each veteran was introduced individually and walked the “red carpet” for their hero’s welcome. Students, dressed in red, white and blue, waved flags as their heroes walked through the room.

Elementary students also provided music under the direction of Akane Hanson. A video presentation was also part of the program.

Following a group photo of the over 80 veterans, students joined their veterans for family photos.

It took the efforts of many to put the celebration together, including Beth Scanlon, Tabby Dart, Vicky Kio, Sally Smock and Gary Leschner, along with Elementary Principal Tracy Kio, students and staff. Organizers were happy so many veterans were able to attend, too.

Refreshments were served in the Gator Den following the ceremony, allowing the veterans to catch up and share their stories with each other.